Last week we began our exploration of Los Angeles quintessential public spaces with an overview of the work of John C. Austin. We continue the series with Mr. Welton Becket, another trailblazer of Los Angeles corporate architecture.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Shortly after graduating from the University of Washington in 1927, Welton Becket founded a small architecture firm with fellow classmates Walter Wurdeman and Charles F. Plummer. The resulting partnership went on to create several iconic structures, such as the Pan Pacific Auditorium. Although both of his partners passed away before 1950, this was the start that catapulted Becket into Los Angeles architecture stardom. Here are some of his most famous works:
Pan Pacific Auditorium
This sprawling 100,000 sq ft structure was designed in 1935 and hosted thousands of public events, sports teams, and political rallies until 1972. It was recognized as a national historic place in 1978, but to the great misfortune of our city, was lost in a momentous fire in 1989.
Photos courtesy of LAist.
Capitol Records Building
This landmark is as synonymous with Los Angeles as palm trees and aspiring actors. It was designed in 1956 and recognized as a National Historic Place in 1985. Unlike many historic buildings, Capitol Records is still used for its original purpose, to record and produce music for Capitol Music Group.
Photos courtesy of Curbed LA.
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
After its opening in 1958, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium quickly became the leading music venue in Los Angeles, hosting concerts by the likes of Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, Village People, Dave Brubeck, The Rolling Stones, Ella Fitzgerald, Prince, and Bob Dylan. In recent years, business has lagged and the beautiful building has essentially ceased operations. At the moment, the City of Santa Monica is considering demolition of the building entirely. Find out more at SavetheCivic.com.
Photos courtesy of LA Conservancy.
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
By the mid 1960s, Welton Becket and Associates was one of this largest architecture firms in the world. He only accepted projects in which he could orchestrate a “total design” approach, in which he was given free reign to engineer every aspect of the project, including master/site planning, engineering, all interior work, fixtures and finishes, furnishings, and landscaping. Such was the case with the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and the result is stunning.
Photos courtesy of Experience LA.