Monday, March 22, 2010

Crime of the Week

Booty call on Figueroa.

Best shape Maillol never sculpted.

I'm not sure what the juridical crime was, but the esthetic crime is more an amusing misdemeanor than a jail-worthy felony. I sincerely hope the perp got off with a paper citation and a few smiles.

Standing bottomless on one of L.A.'s few remaining pay phones could be a statement about the growing lack of publicly accessible telecommunications devices in Southern California, or it could just be an excuse to get nekkid on a warm spring day.

The insouciant and shapely pose, reminiscent of that of Michelangelo's David, got me thinking . . . what if?

Hmmmm . . . .
Then again, no.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A better Best Western Hollywood Hills

Hollywood's much-loved Best Western Hollywood Hills Motel—home of fabu '60s throwback Warner Ebbink–designed 101 Coffee Shop—is getting a facelift.

Best Western Hollywood Hills plan (used by permission of KoningEizenberg Architects).

Architects KoningEizenberg have submitted plans for the refurb, which largely deals with redirecting traffic flow in the hotel's parking lots and some associated landscaping, but also includes non-structural updates to the hotel's exterior (awnings!) and some cool streetscaping that will make it a better neighbor for the new La Belle at Hollywood Tower apartments right across the street.

Best Western Hollywood Hills plan (used by permission of KoningEizenberg Architects).

One salient point in the plan is to retain the noted "Last Cappuccino Before the 101" mural on the east side of the building as part of the new exterior design. This sign is now considered "iconic and part of what gives some character to the neighborhood," according to KoningEizenberg and the environmental graphics firm attached to the project; neighbors tend to agree. Other existing murals will be deleted.

Best Western Hollywood Hills plan (used by permission of KoningEizenberg Architects).

The hearing for the project's Conditional Use Permit before the Planning Commission is coming up on April 6 at 10 am at City Hall, Room 1020. Neighborhood groups have already endorsed the improvements wholeheartedly, but further letters of support are encouraged.

The hotel, first built in 1927, has been owned and operated by the Adler family since 1948. And by the way, 101 Coffee Shop addicts, don't worry: the restaurant and its stellar jukebox will remain unchanged.
Best Western Hollywood Hills plan (used by permission of KoningEizenberg Architects).

Full drawings as submitted to the Planning Commission have been posted here and here in PDF format (large files).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The vintage L.A. duplex

The meaning of "duplex" changes radically depending on locale.

In Manhattan, a duplex is a two-story dwelling within an apartment building—preferably pre-WWII, and even more desirable if designed by Rosario Candela or Emery Roth. It has a cachet just slightly below that of a "maisonette."

960 Fifth Avenue duplex.

In the Middle America west of the Hudson and east of the Golden Gate, a duplex is a house split down the middle—or "divided against itself," in the words of Abraham Lincoln. It is presumably home to two honest working class families. The English euphemistically call it a "semi-detached house."

"Ye Suburban Duplexe."

The Los Angeles duplex falls somewhere between the two extremes. It is neither for the filthy rich nor for the boorishly unglamorous. Instead, it's a charming, preferably Spanish-revival apartment building in which one family (however "family" might be defined on the West Coast) lives above the other.

Here are a few examples from current Craigslist posts.

1100 S. Wooster.

1609 S. Ellesmere.

124 S. Carson.

Manning Avenue.

915 S. Shenandoah.

"Heart of BH. Not BH adjacent."

Celebrated Los Angeles interior design maven Barbara Barry once lived in a duplex on 6th Street in the Miracle Mile district, the locus classicus of Los Angeles duplexity. And Shelley Winters, even after achieving success as an actress, famously lived with her mother in a Beverly Hills duplex.