Chris Burden's favorite Westwood office tower

helmut-jahn-tower.jpgArtist Chris Burden used to see the Helmut Jahn-designed Tower building at Wilshire and Midvale Avenue on his trips to and from UCLA, where he taught for 26 years. It's a "visually complex and satisfying office building" that gives him pleasure, Burden told the LAT's Jori Finkel.

"It must be very hard to build a successful office building because of the constraints of the form. All you need is a shoe box and you start cutting it up. But this stands out. I like the form and the vertical elements that all fit together. I like the top, which looks like it has a crown with buttresses, a classic or gothic element reinterpreted. There may be references to the Flatiron Building too: there's an angle when you are directly facing the building, looking south, and it gets really narrow and the bulk of the building disappears. Not to name specific architects, but it doesn't have to do a lot of gymnastics to stand out — no gyrations or back flips.

"Also the vertical stripes that you can see from Wilshire work like the stripes of a shirt — it's what you wear to look skinny if you're a heavyset person like myself. It makes the skyscraper look like even more of a skyscraper."

The short piece is pegged to an exhibit at One Colorado in Pasadena of a 35-foot mini-skyscraper that Burden designed in 1991.

LA Observed photo

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