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City Places for City People
A Dance with the Street

by Richard Risemberg

There is nothing in machinery, there is nothing in embankments and railways and iron bridges and engineering devices to oblige them to be ugly. Ugliness is the measure of imperfection.
H. G. Wells, 1905

In the middle of Los Angeles's Miracle Mile, there is a remarkable building that, you could say, dances with the street. Not literally, of course; it is as immobile as any other edifice. But because of its thoughtful, clever, and, shall we say, compassionate design, it interacts with the street life on all four sides of the busy block it occupies in a way that the neoBrutalist shoebox skyscrapers so common in the US inevitably fail to do.

It is a successful office building, packed with tenants both prestigious and workaday, including entertainment companies, credit unions, the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Goethe-Institut, architects, publicity firms, and more. It was LEED Silver certified in 2009.

It is also a gift to the neighborhood, both in its design and in the many seemingly gratuitous amenities it offers both tenants and passesrby--including four fountains, sixty covered (and guarded!) bicycle parking spaces outside (with more in the underground garage), and even a publicly-accessible park on the 8th Street side.

It is the Wilshire Courtyard, just catercorner from the famous La Brea Tar Pits, and it lives up to its name.

We'll let it speak for itself in the photos (most of them taken on a quiet Sunday) below....


The main entrance on Wilshire Boulevard


A striking façade


One of the fountains that flank the main entryway


Detail of the fountain in the East Courtyard


The West Courtyard with its fountain


An atrium (one of four)


View from the 8th Street side


Even the side with the utility entrances isn't too bad


The southwest corner, facing a residential intersection


The mini-park on the 8th Street side


One of our favorite features, the turtle pond


At the tail end of lunch hour, during the week

Text & photos by Richard Risemberg