Posts Tagged ‘architecture’
Construction Cranes Catch the Eyes of Our Private Tour
Our little city on the sea, Los Angeles, is growing. Taller it seems. Where once the U.S. Bank Building was the tallest building west of the Mississippi now there is the Wilshire Grand Center tower just a skosh taller. From Mulholland Drive behind the Hollywood Bowl looking east the new skyscraper adds a bit of balance to the downtown skyline. Even though it is not yet open we are already eager to visit the new building. Just imagine the views afforded by such a majestic height. In the meantime we can take our guests enjoying a private tour of Los Angeles to the top of the former tallest building (only 81′ shorter, officially) where there is not only a restaurant and observation deck but perhaps the scariest sliding board in the world. The plastic chute is fashioned outside of the building and runs from one floor to another. Take about an adventure tour! Besides the giant skyscraper rapidly nearing completion in downtown Los Angeles as you can see in the photograph above there are many construction cranes in Hollywood. Downtown Los Angeles has been preserving the old historic buildings for the most part and adapting and reusing them for new businesses and residences. Hollywood on the other hand is tearing down the old and building new structures. Progress marches on, as the old newsreels use to say (for those of you who remember newsreels in this age of cellphone notifications and headlines). We are happy that production facilities and technology will remain in and around Hollywood as it grows into the future.
We Show Our Private Tour Around the Edge of Downtown Los Angeles
Adaptive Reuse – that is a common expression and term of business art we discuss when we are in downtown Los Angeles on a private tour and sightseeing in the urban core. This means that old buildings, beautiful and historic, instead of being demolished and replaced are instead reengineered to modern safety and construction standards and used again for a contemporary business. Here we are now on the eastern side of downtown Los Angeles near the river when we drive up to one of our newest jewels in the crown of the Los Angeles renaissance. The old Globe Mills, a former flour mill, is now the Hauser Wirth and Schimmel art gallery and bookstore. Much of downtown Los Angeles during the past several decades has been adopted by the art community who were already there in the “derelict” years before the community began to envision the potential of downtown and began a concerted effort to rebuild, reuse and redevelop the downtown core that was so vibrant in its heyday before WWII. HW&S is a global art seller and exhibitor and has created an exquisite gallery for its collection of the works of modern artists. There is also an art bookstore and lunch restaurant, Manuela.
Sometimes our Private Tour Guests Arrive by Train
A number of long distance passenger trains arrive and depart from downtown Los Angeles at Union Station. The monumental Spanish-style architecture rises up in walking distance to the birthplace of Los Angeles on Olvera Street. The Mexican restaurants and outdoor shopping bazaar are a wonderful place to spend time while awaiting a train heading north to Seattle or east to Chicago or to New Orleans. The station, because of its spaciousness and location so close to Hollywood is as familiar to film and television lovers as Grand Central Station in Manhattan. Film crews are regular visitors to the almost 80-year old structure that witnessed the passage of so many celebrities on their way to and from Beverly Hills in its glory days during and after WWII. Automobiles and air travel led to the reduction of passenger trains to travel long distances and this transportation hub in the middle of downtown L.A. saw a smaller and different group of passengers availing itself of train rides. The station’s interior is beautiful and distinctive with enclosed courtyards and lots of marble and terra cotta to please the eye. The last of the Harvey House restaurants at train stations opened and closed here. There are plenty of reasons for us to pull up in the station’s parking area while on a private Los Angeles tour to show off our historic Union Station even if we are not picking up or dropping off our guests who are traveling on Amtrak.
The City Hall Building in Downtown Los Angeles
Familiar to Our Private Tour Guests
Downtown Los Angeles (we refer to it as DTLA) has been undergoing a significant metamorphosis in recent years as most cities do in their lifetimes. A cycle of boom growth is followed by stasis and then dereliction before a new period of redevelopment takes hold. L.A. Live in the south part of the city has rejuvenated the city as has adaptive reuse of some of the old office buildings and renovation of the Broadway theaters. Downtown Los Angeles is happening once again. The tallest building downtown before the modern era was the 32-story City Hall building. Made with concrete that used sand from each of the state’s 58 counties and water from every historic mission on El Camino Real (the Royal Roadway) the building was the highest point in the city until 1964. Even more important is the recognition the building receives from movie lovers and television watchers who have seen the impressive exterior from all angles over its entire history. Whether playing itself or substituting for the municipal center of an unnamed or different city, the filmography of Los Angeles City Hall is as impressive as the cast of characters who have run the city over the course of its relatively short history. Our private Los Angeles tour guests interested in downtown can visit City Hall and its wonderful observation deck to look over the north part of the downtown core where they can see Japan Town, Chinatown, Olvera Street and Union Station.
We Find Fun Diners for Our Private Tour
Sadly, the Zep Diner is no more. Gone along with America’s fascination with dirigibles and blimps. With the exception of the Goodyear blimp moored in Carson just south of Los Angeles and the regular visits of several other television camera-equipped, sporting event covering floating airships, our skies are much more filled with passenger aircraft and police and news helicopters. But back in the day (1920s, 1930s) massive airships like the Hindenburg, the Graf Zeppelin and the U.S.S. Los Angeles captured our imagination and inspired our art and design. One manifestation of this inspiration was the Zep Diner, home of the “Hinden Burger,” which sat on a major road leading into downtown Los Angeles coincidentally near a Goodyear tire manufacturing plant. There were a large number of programmatic (or mimetic) structures (designed to look like common objects) all around Los Angeles (like Mother Goose giant shoe and the Brown Derby). There are few of these structures remaining today though our private Los Angeles tour guides do know where they were located and can talk about this with our guests.
Our Private Tour
When you take a private Los Angeles tour with us you are the only people we are guiding. Private means private. And custom. And luxury. That means we can park our vehicle wherever it is convenient and we can walk wherever we want to or need to go without difficulty or harassment. We can stand in front of the Department of Water and Power (DWP) building to get this terrific look at the Disney Concert Hall through the waters of the DWP fountain. The Frank Gehry-designed auditorium reflects and refracts light differently at all times of the day and each day of the year. Put some blooming jacarandas in front and add a sparkling waterworks and downtown Los Angeles feels like the special place that is. Sadly, our extended drought is closing down (temporarily we hope) water features around many of our buildings so we have to rely on photographs for the moment to enjoy what these designs brought to us in wetter times.
Trojan Football and Olympics History at the Los Angeles Coliseum Impress our Tour Guests
Los Angeles is blessed to have two historic stadiums still in regular use. We have written about the Rose Bowl Stadium in nearby Pasadena (14 miles away). The other is the Los Angeles Coliseum in downtown Los Angeles, adjacent to the University of Southern California whose Trojans call the Coliseum home. Since its completion in 1932 the Coliseum has also been home to the Los Angeles Rams and L.A. Raiders NFL teams, and for a short time to the Dodgers baseball team. The very first NFL/AFL Championship Game (later renamed the Superbowl) was played here in 1967. The record for highest attendance at a baseball game (115,300) was set in 2008 when the Dodgers hosted the Boston Red Sox (the Green Monster in left field in this case replaced by a very tall net – see below). Two Olympics were staged at this facility, large musical concerts, soccer matches, political rallies. Los Angeles weather permits year round use of this grand facility. Our helicopter route on the aerial portion of our air + ground private Los Angeles tour takes us right over the Coliseum just after we see the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles.
We Walk Our Private Tour Around the Disney Concert Hall
Perfectly reflected sound is the result of the acoustic engineering of Yasuhisa Toyota inside the Disney Concert Hall. Perfectly reflected light is what Frank Gehry wanted with his architectural design for this auditorium in downtown Los Angeles. A collection of perfectly arranged shapes with varying hues of blue is what our private Los Angeles tour guide wanted to capture in this photograph for our custom luxury tour guests. Needless to say, our guests enjoyed a perfect sightseeing excursion throughout Los Angeles along with Hollywood, Beverly Hills and the beaches up to Malibu.
Disneyland Attraction Originates Here on a Los Angeles Tour
This 1929 Normandy-style apartment building possesses a properly functioning elevator to travel its seven stories and is not known for its apparations, spirits, ghosts or portals to other dimensions. It is simply a comfortable building overlooking the Hollywood Freeway that somehow inspired the Disneyland imagineers when they came up with the idea of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. In its heyday famous movie stars and film luminaries would take up residence in the stylish apartments so near the original movieland studios. Today it is directly on our usual pathway up to see the Hollywood Sign. The Hollywood Tower has regularly appeared in films and on television shows (not counting the Disney Tower of Terror television film) as has the 101 Café across the street. Be sure to enjoy the look of the building on your private Los Angeles tour through Hollywood and into Beachwood Canyon.
Los Angeles Tour Guests Interested in Art and Design Get an Eyeful Here
Twenty of the Arts & Architecture Magazine Case Study Houses are in the immediate Los Angeles area. These homes were built between 1945 and 1966 and include some of the most notable stuctures in American architecture. One of them (above) is the Stahl House, Case Study House #22. Located in the Hollywood Hills this structure is quite recognizable to most Americans from its repeated appearance in advertisements, television shows and movies. The home was built in 1960 by architect Pierre Koenig and photographed for the magazine by Julius Shulman. Unlike other iconic buildings in the area the Stahl House is available for private tours and is an exciting stop along the way when our private Los Angeles tour guests have an architecture and design tour in mind when they are with us. Our guides have become very familiar with these destinations and cover many of the representative styles and periods that stand out in Los Angeles as they show our guests through the area.