Nothing transformed or defined 20th-century Southern California more than the automobile, and nowhere was this more apparent than the San Fernando Valley. The Valley’s explosion of development was aided and abetted by the mass production of affordable cars that allowed middle-class Angelenos to work in the busy city and live in the spacious suburbs.
With residents spending more and more time in their cars, a new kind of exuberant, literal design known as mimetic and programmatic architecture flourished on LA’s busy streets from the 1920s to 1940s.
These eye-catching, kitschy buildings were often large-scale versions of the wares or services offered within—built advertisements aimed at passing motorists. Sometimes they were just silly animals or concepts designed to attract the curious consumer.
The style’s glory days have long passed, but LA has retained some of these whimsical buildings. To celebrate this weird architecture, we’ve mapped the area’s best examples, past and present.Read More