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Braving Scientology for the Love of Architecture


The Guaranty Building in 1923 (photo by Curt Teich & Co.) and in 2006 [Photo from Design Observer]

A reader points us to this brave expose of, well, not Scientology exactly, but the quasi-religion's fabulous decorating taste. The author agrees to test her e-meter, all for the sake of architectural curiousity, to get a personal tour of the Chateau Elysee, (aka the Celebrity Centre International):

My e-meter readings are taken in the corner of a sitting room with an ivory grand piano. When I’m forced to grip metal cylinders and recall a traumatic moment myself — I conjure visions of vicious German Shepherds — I observe how well the scarlet curtain swags match the red in the carpet. The auditing classrooms are upstairs, on a level painted entirely in pastoral motif, with glossy-eyed rabbits prancing along the chair rail. The world-famous purification program, a regimen which releases toxins so violently that students have been known to have drug flashbacks, takes place in a pristine black-and-white tiled spa. When we step into the garden, I audibly gasp. This is the view I’ve strained to see over the jasmine-entwined fence for five years — the Chateau Elysee, unobscured. Towering above neighboring cinderblock apartments, it’s quite literally a castle. Turrets rise from fluffy Englemann oaks to spike the sky. A splashy fountain drowns out the hum of the Hollywood Freeway. The afternoon sun filters through 90-foot palms onto feather-thin ferns that surround an orangerie. I’m in the Loire, not Los Angeles. I feel dangerously close to being brainwashed with period detail.

We almost want to attend the Sunday Brunch there just to get a glimpse.

Design Observer's conclusion: Scientology isn't just good for US weekly fodder and celebrity brainwashing. Its also good for Hollywood architecture.
Why Scientology is Good for Hollywood [Design Observer]