Sunday, 20 September 2015

Los Angeles Downtown

Even though we've been to Southern California many times before, we've always bypassed downtown L.A. because of the traffic chaos and because we saw it as just another American city with nothing that would really engage us.  This time around, I was determined to find a reason to visit the downtown of what is considered the second biggest city in the U.S.  I looked up the tour books and found that it has some interesting architectural attractions like the Walt Disney Music Centre, designed by Frank Gehry and there were a number of historic buildings listed by the LA Conservancy that sounded interesting.  

We planned our trip so that we arrived in the Disney Centre mid-afternoon (best place to park) and spent the time walking the few streets south of the centre.  The Disney Centre was spectacular and alone was worth the trip.  There were a number of art deco buildings in the neighbourhood, including the Los Angeles Central Library.  

One big surprise was the lack of people in the public spaces in the downtown area.  The main public space, Pershing Square, was deserted at 4 o'clock in the afternoon except for a few homeless people, and remained so into the late afternoon because it seemed that everyone left the downtown core by car.  It was a really weird sensation to be walking down empty streets in a big city like this, quite unlike San Francisco, Chicago, New York, or any of the Canadian cities.  We stayed in the downtown area as we had bought tickets for a concert at the Disney Centre, also known for its great acoustics - highly recommended. Downtown L.A. turned out to be an interesting place to tour - we will certainly return for more, perhaps join one of the walking tours offered by the L.A. Conservancy.

Walt Disney Music Centre - Frank Gehry building (of course)
One Bunker Hill - allegorical figures by Merrell Gage represent light, power and hydroelectric energy - this was originally the home a utility company.  Cubic motifs in the facade repeated in the lobby floor and elevator ceilings.

Coffered ceiling, floors and walls are composed of at least seventeen different types of marble.

Los Angeles Central Library, 1926
Pyramid at the top of the building features a sunburst and is topped by a handheld torch symbolizing the light of knowledge.

Elevator doors and doors into the building

Fountain outside library.

The exterior of the building is covered by ornamental and symbolic artworks and sculptures. 
The PacMutual Building on W. Sixth St. across from Pershing Square.  Three interconnected structures built between 1908 and 1936.  Beaux Arts building with grand lobby and vaulted ceiling, sweeping staircases.

Millennium Biltmore Hotel

Pershing Square at 4 o'clock on a week day

Disney Centre lit up at night

Inside the concert hall - great acoustics!

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