Physical Los Angeles

Fighting over Wilshire and La Brea

Nadel projectAt one time Wilshire and LaBrea was the most heavily traveled intersection in the city. It's still plenty busy, as marketers for Asahi Beer learned when their neon sign perched atop the Art Deco Wilson Building on the northeast corner. "After twelve years, everybody has seen it," they said in yielding the prime spot to Samsung Digital. Across Wilshire to the south, plans to replace an old bank-turned Korean church with a high-rise, mixed-use condo and retail project is riling the locals and the L.A. Conservancy Modernism Committee at "UGLY! UGLY! UGLY! Is this the best that Nadel Architects could do for this major intersection? I am not impressed at the haphazard design with the odd 'overhang' at the top," rails a poster. "Please go back to the drawing boards and try again." Community meetings are scheduled for July 12 and July 27.

creditAdd Wilson Building: Designed by Meyer and Holler (of Grauman's Chinese and Egyptian Theatre fame), the Streamline Moderne and ZigZag tower is the tallest of the three 1920s high-rises on the Miracle Mile. It used to feature a dirigible mast soaring from the top, but Mutual of Omaha removed the mast when the insurer owned the building — costing it eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo larger at Trivia question: Anybody know what the neon billboard, reportedly the first in the city, advertised before Mutual of Omaha, Asahi and Samsung Digital?

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