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Fugly Buildings

Monday, March 3, 2014

La Brea and Wilshire - WENDY GILMARTIN
  • Wendy Gilmartin
  • La Brea and Wilshire
As far as L.A. boulevards go, Wilshire has a fare share of beautiful buildings: There's the lovely sea-blue glazed tile Pellissier building (better known as the Wiltern theater), and the art deco inspired E. Clem Wilson building (also known as the Samsung building because of the giant blue advertisement that obstructs its top third).

The low-lying Page museum at the tar pits is a subtle, local favorite, and folks seems to like the new addition to the LACMA complex too with its elegant stone and red structure poking through.

Even a newbie like the BMW showroom at Mansfield avenue is a sleek addition, all glassy with a hint of angled wall bending towards the road, as if its moving along the street with the rest of the traffic.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

WENDY GILMARTIN
  • Wendy Gilmartin
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*More Fugly Buildings

Road-weary tourists and business travelers know it's hard to find an affordable place to get some shut-eye in this town, which is why visitors to the Best Western Plus "Royal Palace" Inn & Suites are fair to judge the rooms here as they are: fine, quiet enough and clean enough, for the low price tag in this high-rent zip code of West Los Angeles. Apparently, the free continental breakfast is not too bad either. But take a step out on to the street and it's a different story.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

WENDY GILMARTIN
  • Wendy Gilmartin

We can thank the developers and architects who built the Alessio apartments on Centinela Avenue in Westchester for this one. To all those visitors to L.A. who emerge from LAX's arrival terminal and head north up the 405, this is what greets them: A seven-story-tall, poo-brown colored wall -- which almost makes the Promenade at the Howard Hughes Center across the highway look dynamic.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

WENDY GILMARTIN
  • Wendy Gilmartin
Finally a building style that will please everyone: Rapunzel, her prince, Dracula, the Wicked Witch of the West and Pepe Le Pew (but maybe not his lady cat friend). The Versailles apartments at 918 S. Oxford between James M. Wood boulevard and San Marino Street are sort of like that castle you pay 80 bucks to visit down in Anaheim, but up here, on this hilly residential street at the K-town/mid-city border, the sugary nostalgia's gone rank and its definitely not the happiest place on earth.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

WENDY GILMARTIN
  • Wendy Gilmartin

7655 Sunset Boulevard stands as a dated throwback to Hollywood's swinging mid-to-late century heydey, and just like exposed chest hair and copious gold chains, the "Harmony GOLD" signage out front really completes the look on this groovy geezer. (Blink too fast and you might mistake the sign for the classic "Solid Gold" logo).

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

WENDY GILMARTIN
  • Wendy Gilmartin

Even before construction crews broke ground on the Orsini apartment complex back in 2001, its developers made themselves locally infamous for wriggling out of an inclusionary zoning provision that requires new residential apartment developments to contain at least 15 percent affordable units. (Attorneys on the developer's side argued the provision would cause "difficulties and hardships" by lowering the owners' cash flow.)

Flash forward 11 years later (and two additional phases and two enormous additional buildings later) and the Orsini apartments at Figueroa Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue downtown are currently more than 15 percent vacant. They also host one of the hottest parking garages in town for car break-ins and petty criminal activity.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

WENDY GILMARTIN
  • Wendy Gilmartin

You can walk in and ask for a "Del Fargo" burrito at this Wells Fargo branch in Van Nuys but, sadly, you probably aren't gonna get one.

Built in 2007 where a Mobil gas station used to sit at the corner of Victory and Sepulveda Boulevards, this fairly new, ketchup and mustard-colored building could fool any stoner cruising for munchies late at night through the San Fernando Valley.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fro-hedge at the corner of Leyland and Seward in Hollywood - WENDY GILMARTIN
  • Wendy Gilmartin
  • Fro-hedge at the corner of Leyland and Seward in Hollywood
Early on in architecture school, a professor advised me against filling in a half-baked drawing with a row of sycamore trees. Admittedly, I was trying to cover up the unresolved aspects of the design.

"Ah trees," he sighed gently, raising one eyebrow, "the architect's eraser."

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

WENDY GILMARTIN
  • Wendy Gilmartin
At the busy corner of Olympic and Sawtelle sits a banal retail center that's typical of Los Angeles' low commercial-development standards, complete with all the elements of conventional, early-'90s design and construction. You've got your beige block, your beige stucco, your storefront glass, your copper and teal accents. But this building has that extra something that sets it apart from the others; a garish, eye-popping feature that really makes it an outlier -- its giant, glowing neon aquarium-seascape scene that comes blazing to life each evening after the sun sets.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

WENDY GILMARTIN
  • Wendy Gilmartin
Seems like everybody hates the Beverly Center. A local "landmark" of sorts, the Beverly Center has been regularly mocked for decades due to its downright fugliness, impenetrable facades that block out the sun, and awkward siting along the Los Angeles/Beverly Hills border.

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