CALIFORNIAN ARCHITECTURE. #AMREADING REYNER BANHAM.
I am in Los Angeles. What better place to read Reyner Banham’s classic Los Angeles.The Architecture of Four Ecologies. Some memorable phrases:
- In 1925 Santa Monica used more pianos than any other city of its size. Meaning? It was no longer a resort. It had become a home city.
- The Pacific Coast Highway is lined with oil pumps, their orange-painted heads nodding tirelessly and always out of synchronization with each other.
- Lee Shippey’s list of Californian tradition is to speak in superlatives, to live out-of-doors, to tell tall tales, to deal in real estate, to believe what isn’t true, to throw dignity out the window, to dress dramatically, and to tackle the impossible. Unlike the Arts and Crafts houses, Greene’s wooden houses are perfect in visible spaces, but in hidden spaces it’s the usual old US carpenter’s crudwork.
- Mountain cropping to provide flat space for a housing development proposes a new kind of ecological disturbance. Such large-scale trifling with an earthquake prone land is more than a lost ecological amenity.
- The hamburger – a pretty well-balanced meal ..that one can eat with one hand—has achieved a kind of symbolic apotheosis in Los Angeles. Like the hamburger, the architecture of the hamburger hut is something fantastic, a symbolic assemblage, its functions repackaged in a Hansel-and-Gretel image.
Tahitian Village Restaurant, especially, strikingly
and lovingly ridiculous…sums up a general phenomenon of US life.
Tahitian Village Restaurant. tikiroom.com