I was driving back from visiting a friend in North Hollywood, when I entered that strange land of high wire, high voltage electrical towers that cuts diagonally across this section of the NE San Fernando Valley.
It was a serenely sunny day, and amidst all the junky stucco apartments, and worn out tire, auto and taco shops, stood this monumentally beautiful DPW building.
They had a way of building, back in the 1930s, that combined a classical dignity with the most subtly frivolous carved ornament and Art Deco sculptures. Round lanterns flanked the drive-in gates, and along the roof line of the rectangular building, were rounded carvings of turbines.
So this was an American city, in the midst of the Great Depression, which managed to create public structures, inspiring pride and benefitting the entire city.
75 years later, you see this decorously dignified and functional building and wonder, quite sadly, why it’s so difficult to build well, build big and build with some civic vitality in our present day City of Angels.
You might bring a Republican to this particular Department of Water and Power but you cannot make him drink from it.