In the 1960s a lot of historical beauties were destroyed by postwar modernists, who gave the world a new architecture of ugliness and useless simplicity. Art déco architecture wasn’t very traditional, but those aesthetics of a new bourgeois architecture were a symbol of a new greatness. The building I want you to present today was a symbol of greatness.
Richfield Tower, also known as the Richfield Oil Company Building, was constructed between 1928 and 1929 and served as the headquarters of Richfield Oil. It was designed by Stiles O. Clements and featured a black and gold Art Deco façade. The unusual color scheme was meant to symbolize the “black gold” that was Richfield’s business. Haig Patigian did the exterior sculptures. The building was covered with architectural terra cotta manufactured by Gladding, McBean along with many west coast buildings from this era. In an unusual move, all four sides were covered since they were all visible in the downtown location.
The company outgrew the building, and it was demolished in 1969, much to the dismay of Los Angeles residents and those interested in architectural preservation, to make way for the present ARCO Plaza skyscraper complex. The elaborate black-and-gold elevator doors were salvaged from the building and now reside in the lobby of the new ARCO building (now City National Tower).
Text by: Cătălin CREȚU
Source: Martin Turnbull
© The Bunget 2017