Just Above Sunset
April 2, 2006 - Zigzag Time

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Smith House, Los Angeles, Zigzag Moderne

Sometimes driving around Los Angeles one is suddenly reminded of the old Astaire-Rogers "white telephone" musicals, with their French farce plots and Manhattan-skyline sparkle, as James Wolcott once described them. That might happen if you drive past this.

Smith House
1929-30 J.C. Smale
191 South Hudson Avenue
Los Angeles

"One of the few Zigzag Moderne houses in the area in the Los Angeles area and probably one of the greatest. It is very elegant in an extremely elegant neighborhood. Paris would be proud of it." - David Gebhard and Robert Winter, A Guide to Architecture in Los Angeles and Southern California, 1977, Peregrine-Smith

Paris? Maybe. Fred Aistaire could have danced here, but there's no record of that. But it feels right.

Zigzag Moderne - "Zigzag Moderne developed from the classical-inspired designs of Bertram B Goodhue, the vertical Gothic schemes of Eliel Saarinen, the forms of the Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratif of 1925, and the early twenties designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. It was also influenced by the developing International style. The principal characteristics of Zigzag Moderne are: smooth surfaced volumes; windows arranged in sunken vertical panels; frequent use of central tower, whose summit recedes in a stepped pattern; a flat roof; symmetry and balance for each elevation; tendency for buildings to be monumental, formal and heavy; ornamentation of zigzags, chevrons, sunbursts, spirals and stylized plant and animal motifs."

It's very strange.

Photos, Saturday, April 1, 2006.

Smith House, Los Angeles, Zigzag Moderne

Smith House, Los Angeles, Zigzag Moderne

Smith House, Los Angeles, Zigzag Moderne

Smith House, Los Angeles, Zigzag Moderne

Smith House, Los Angeles, Zigzag Moderne

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me.  

There is a copyright notice at the bottom of this page, of course.

These were shot with a Nikon D70 – lens AF-5 Nikor 18-70mm 1:35-4.5G ED

They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0

The original large-format raw files are available upon request.


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik

The inclusion of any text from others is quotation for the purpose of illustration and commentary, as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law.  See the Legal Notice Regarding Fair Use for the relevant citation.
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