Enduring architecture cannot be created in an instant, it seems that it evolves from many other forms over time, usually from historical precedents. My experience in re-creating Revival homes of the 1920s has led me to better understand and in fact study classical architecture and design as did the Beaux Arts architects of that era. Alson Clark in his analysis of this period captured best both the birth and demise of this romantic time.
"Since the turn of the century Los Angeles has passed through three major cultural eras, each of which has been reflected in its architecture. When the city first became important, its architects began to be recognized; by 1920 Southern California was seen as heir to a tradition more flexible than that of the East Coast. The buildings of the Spanish period on the West Coast had been rudimentary yet noble, descended from a Mediterranean culture that seemed classic and romantic at the same time. Imaginative architects were able to adapt and flesh out this tradition for the modern world. During the next era in modern California, the era of technology of the 1930s through the early 1960s, the Mediterranean tradition was abandoned in favor of the International Style, then dominant all over the country. The city of Los Angeles was now seen as technologically advanced, the first large metropolis to be designed for the automobile age. It was also seen as the city without tradition, a place where the latest ideas were immediately welcome. Since the mid-1960s Los Angeles has been seen as the national pop culture capital, its glitzy irreverence is counted as one of its prized assets. The Hollywood sign (which originally read Hollywoodland and was designed to promote a real estate subdivision) has become a major monument. A building in the shape of a hot dog intended to promote the sale of hot dogs is ranked as a treasure."1
It is my passion to re-explore the imagery of this romantic era and give our "pop" culture an alternative to instant Mediterranean Architecture so prevalent in Southern California today. I have included examples of several contemporary revivalist architects' work (including my own), excerpts from books and articles, art by architects (just for fun), and a bookstore/source list. I hope you enjoy this Web site.
Thomas Bollay AIA, Architect
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