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

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Architecture stories on LA Observed:
Tronc Tower? LA Times may move to downtown skyscraper*
Photos from inside Hollyhock House today
Inside the Arts District's Engine Co. 17
What would Ray Bradbury say?
Westwood's Regent theatre to close, become restaurants
Norms on Pico looks to be closing this month
One Santa Fe getting a redo already
AltaSea at the Port of LA plans unveiled


LA Observed on Twitter