i’ve spent the last few days with wayne and the flaming lips and all of their amazing friends and girlfriends. and family and students and etc etc in oklahoma city. it does make me sort of long for life in a small city filled with nice people where everything is 15 minutes away from everything else and there’s no traffic…
one of the most amazing things that wayne and co. have done in oklahoma city is ‘the womb’. an old factory/garage that they’ve colonized.
a giant vagina.
a huge damian hirst spin art painting on the ceiling.
lots of disco balls.
tons of props and lights and offices and storage.
a silver pillow structure.
more disco balls.
number of the beast silver balloons.
it is, in short, vaguely akin to doing drugs without actually doing drugs. and this was during the daytime. i could imagine entering the womb at night and not leaving for a month. the pictures only give about 1/100th of the sense of what it is. and that it’s in oklahoma city, the capital of the most conservative/republican state in the country, is even more amazing.
ok, super simple: a nice and random bauhaus inspired (or, possibly, designed) house from the 30’s. nice lines and perfect little rectilinear proportions. and you can malign l.a with it’s sea of beige, but there are also so many early and mid century houses in l.a that you couldn’t even begin to possibly count them (or stand on the street and take pictures of them).
in most cities a house like this would be remarkable, a rare example of good early-mid century architecture. in l.a it’s a nice modern house among tens of thousands of nice modern houses. l.a has all of these amazing houses and buildings and parks and streets and random weirdnesses, but they’re almost all kind of hidden. not hidden in an obnoxious cool way, just hidden due to the fact that l.a is huge and filled with tiny little oddball streets.
in most cities the beauty conceals the ugliness. here the ugliness conceals the beauty. well, oftentimes.
oh, i also took a few steps from this house and took a picture of hollywood as it might have looked in, say 1965. or so. 1965 was a good year. but i’m biased.
i’ve always loved abandoned buildings. even when i was really little i loved buildings when they were left alone, succumbing to entropy. then, as i got older, i started breaking into abandoned buildings just to see what they were like.
normally, to state the obvious, you find abandoned buildings in remote, desolate, and out of the way parts of the world (like, by way of example, the salton sea). but in l.a you find abandoned buildings right in the middle of the city. which might not speak to well to the financial health and well being of the city, but i love abandoned buildings so i don’t think too hard and long about what they represent other than strangeness and beauty.
this particular abandoned gas station is remarkable as it’s also architecturally significant. a perfect little jewel box of an art deco or moderne gas station. i still feel strange writing ‘moderne’ but apparently it was a real thing.
in any case, here’s a beautiful abandoned gas station. maybe somehow it will remain a beautiful abandoned gas station, further succumb to entropy, and not get turned into something terrible.
i haven’t put up an architecture update in a couple of weeks… i’m sorry. mea culpa.
todays’ house is the derby house, built in glendale by lloyd wright, frank’s son. per usual i could only take pictures from the street, as the creepy architectural voyeur stalker that i happen to be.
i’m not sure i would want to live in one of lloyd or frank’s mayan spaceships, but i’m amazed and happy that they exist. they’re like an obscure architectural/design cul de sac that showed up in the 20th century and pretty quickly disappeared. an odd side bar of heavily ornamented modernism, usually looking like a bunker built by mayans or aztecs visiting from a very distant galaxy. but it’s hard to not be impressed and amazed by the inventiveness and the oddness and the uniqueness of these bunkers.
oh, also, completely unrelated, i’m having an art opening at project gallery on cahuenga, if you’d like to come by. the show will be up from this friday for about 5 or 6 weeks. it’s all pictures of the apocalypse and the post-apocalyptic cult of the innocents.
i’ve put some other pictures up here.
hopefully see you soon,
i have a lot of favorites when it comes to houses in l.a. having said that, this is one of my favorites. which shouldn’t demean the idea of a ‘favorite’. i mean, isn’t it better to be liberal with labeling things ‘favorites’ rather than stingy with approval and appreciation? or maybe i’m just lazy and i need a better word than favorite.
i want to find out more about this house, but here’s what i know:
- it was built in the 20’s.
- it’s almost completely hidden by vines and trees and plants and more vines.
- the rolling stones stayed here when they were finishing ‘exile on main street’.
- marilyn manson lived here for a while.
- lots of other people have lived here.
- it’s built around a very tall central spiral staircase.
- it probably has a storied (no pun intended) past, but i don’t know anything more than what i’ve written here.
i mean, i assume that in the 20’s and 30’s it was home to odd and debauched early movie stars, but that’s only an assumption on my part. an assumption with empirical support, as almost every house in hollywood has been home to odd and debauched movie stars (including my own, thank you very much).
also i’m continually amazed that overgrown estates like this are literally 3 minutes from grimy crumbly hollywood. all of the odd and interesting stuff in l.a is, to a large extent, hidden.
just got back from holiday travels and i decided to take some pictures of one of my favorite scary crumbly hotels in hollywood. and that’s saying something, as there really are countless scary and crumbly motels in hollywood.
what i don’t understand about this hotel is how the giant wall and sign are sort of reminiscent of a time when the future was clearly to be found in either outer space or science fiction. but the buildings inside look sort of like norman bates’ mom’s final resting place in ‘psycho’.
i don’t know if it has any great architectural merit or significance, but i love it for it’s off-putting strangeness. and i don’t know if they actually have guests, as i didn’t see much evidence of anyone coming or going while i was being a creepy architecture voyeur.
in other news: i hope you had a wonderful holiday(s), regardless of whatever holidays you chose or chose not to celebrate. and if you’re somewhere egregiously cold i hope you don’t resent those of us in southern california who are suffering through an exceedingly warm and sunny winter.
we suffer with dignity and restraint.
hi from nyc.
i was walking around thinking, to myself, ‘hm, what should i take pictures of? i mean, in terms of buildings. for people to see.’ and then i thought, self-involvedly, ‘why not take pictures of my apartment and studio?’ so i did. and here they are. well, some of them.
first, some history:
i’ve been in this building in little italy since 1992 (i’ve been on this block since 1990…). in 1995 i bought a small storage space in the building and hired an architect named nick durrie to design and build a home and studio for me. here were the issues:
- i didn’t have much money
- it had no skylights or plumbing
- nick didn’t have anywhere to live
so nick kind of designed and built the space while he was living in it as a construction site. and it’s very idiosyncratic and unique.
we had to remove a huge, beautiful beam from the ceiling, so he chopped it up and turned it into the stairs/ladder. we needed kitchen lights, so we went to chinatown and bought 2 lampshades for $10. we needed another ladder, so we walked to bond st and bought a ladder for $5 from a salvage place. and etc.
it was all done sort of spontaneously and inexpensively, but it turned out beautifully and it’s still where i stay when i’m in nyc (and it’s where i lived from 1995-2010). and it’s where i wrote and recorded ‘play’ and ‘18’ and ‘hotel’ and ‘last night’ and ‘wait for me’
and ‘destroyed’. so, as you might imagine, it’s a very special place for me. and even though i live in l.a now, this is still (like a horcrux), where a huge part of me resides.
p.s-i’m also including a photo of the new museum, as it currently has a boat hanging on it’s front and it’s across the street from me.
p.s-these’re not my finest photos, as my nice camera is in l.a..
p.p.s-i have really good security on the apartment, so don’t go getting any fancy ideas about breaking in when i’m not here…
i was in a neighborhood in studio city yesterday and i found this little beautiful gem of a mid century house. and i like lists, so here’s a list of why i’m including it in my arbitrary and random architectural blog.
- i love that it’s basically a mid century tree house.
- it’s literally about 300 yards from some of the least inspiring urban architecture in l.a, reminding me that there’s something hidden in plain sight almost everywhere in l.a.
- see ‘1’. i mean, it’s a tree house.
- i think ‘1’ and ‘2’ pretty much cover the reasons why it’s in/on/at my arbitrary blog.
- but i like lists so i’ll include a few more list items.
- like this one, ‘6’.
sorry for wasting your time. ok thanks. and it’s raining in l.a, which is great.
i think it’s the second time so far in 2013 that it’s rained in l.a. so, thank you rain gods.
today i’m putting up pictures of one of the most famous and beloved modern houses in l.a, the lovell house.
i’m not quite sure what to say about it, as it’s a legendary house and acres of accolades have been, justifiably, heaped on it over the years. so what i can say, in my simplistic way, is that it’s amazing and perfect. see, that’s high brow architecture criticism.
ok, it also fits perfectly and idiosyncratically in it’s environment, it probably is bright and filled with light (remember: i’m a creepy architecture stalker and i generally take pictures of things from the street), and it employed building techniques that hitherto hadn’t been used in domestic/residential architecture.
oh, and it was in the movie ‘beginners’, which is one of my favorite movies of the last 10 years.
i love how it sits as a collection of rectilinear boxes and lines in the middle of an overgrown l.a griffith park environment. i’m not sure who lives here, but they’re lucky.