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Monthly Archives: August 2016

reyner banham, architecture, architectural design, design,

A Man That Changed Perceptions of Los Angeles

“Now I know subjective opinions can vary, but personally I reckon LA as the noisiest, the smelliest, the most uncomfortable and most uncivilized major city in the United States. In short, a stinking sewer …”

Journalist Adam Raphael for The Guardian in 1968

There you go Angelenos! That was the world opinion of our great city during the time. Architectural experts and intellectuals energetically maintained this rough outlook of the City of Angels. Then, along came a British architectural expert, well respected in his profession. A man with a shaggy beard and bad teeth, who proclaimed and professed his love for Los Angeles and its architecture. His book, Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies became one of the most energetically pro-Los Angeles books ever written. Reyner Banham put his love for Los Angeles into words and rocked the architectural world! His book continually lands on lists of great books about modern cities, even amongst critics whose opinion continues to oppose Banham.

Reyner Banham was an English architectural critic and prolific writer best known for his theoretical treatise Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (1960) and for his 1971 book Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies. In the latter, he categorized the Los Angeles experience into four ecological models (Surfurbia, Foothills, The Plains of Id, and Autopia) and explored the distinct architectural cultures of each ecology. Banham worked in London, but lived primarily in the United States from the late 1960s until the end of his life. Banham also had a stint teaching at USC, during which time he lived in Pasadena in the renowned Gamble House. His perceptions and writing redefined the way the architectural experts, and the world, perceived our great city.

“Los Angeles offers radical alternatives to almost every urban concept in unquestioned currency.”
Reyner Banham

Banham believed the most unique value of Los Angeles is that it offers radical alternatives to almost every urban concept.

ADG Lighting is passionate about architecture and specifically, the architecture of Los Angeles. Our inspirational designs and creative fit perfectly for all the possibilities Los Angeles offers. Check out our lookbooks and see how our creativity and quality will inspire you!

Thomas mann house, mid-century modern, architecture

Are We Losing Another Architectural Landmark?

Could the famous Thomas Mann house by midcentury great J.R. Davidson be the next tragic teardown in Los Angeles? The Thomas Mann house is located on a large corner lot on San Remo Drive in Pacific Palisades, just north of the Riviera Country Club and about three miles from the Pacific. The home was commissioned by novelist Thomas Mann and his wife, Katia, from architect J.R. Davidson and built in 1941 on nearly an acre of land.

The Potential Loss of Architectural History

The architect, Julius Ralph Davidson or JR Davidson, was a mid-century modern American architect known for advancing modern architecture in Los Angeles and participating in Arts & Architecture magazine’s Case Study House Program. Davidson was part of a group of European expatriate architects, which included Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, Kem Weber, and Paul László, who furthered modern architecture in Los Angeles in the 1930s and 40s. His modern interiors have been noted for their warmth, fluidity, and well-planned storage space. The Thomas Mann home is not on the official Los Angeles historic-cultural monuments. It is listed as a historic resource in a larger inventory called SurveyLA. The Thomas Mann Home is a work of real architectural significance, on whose design the novelist and his wife collaborated closely with Davidson. It is not just the house where Mann wrote some of his most famous work, but many feel it is a portrait of his artistic temperament and a measure of his relationship with SoCal and the architecture’s modern movement.

Is There Hope?

Unfortunately, the Thomas Mann house is being listed as a teardown at almost $15 million, without mention in the listing of its historical significance. A new citywide ordinance requires that owners seeking to demolish houses older than 45 years provide notice to neighbors and the local city council office at least 30 days in advance. But in general there are limited protections for most residential buildings in Los Angeles, even those with notable architectural pedigrees.

The Thomas Mann Home #1

Thomas mann house, mid-century modern, architecture

The Thomas Mann Home #2

Thomas mann house, mid-century modern, architecture

The Thomas Mann Home #3

Thomas mann house, mid-century modern, architecture




summit inn, route 66, route 66 historical, americana, local, california, las vegas, los angeles

The Summit Inn: The Loss of An American Icon

If you have ever travelled the high desert on I-15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, you have seen the Summit Inn. The Summit Inn was an iconic bit of Americana in the middle of the California desert, a landmark along the historic Route 66. The Blue Cut fire exploded in the high desert on August 16th, catching the area residents and emergency responders off guard. During the first day, it burnt about 30,000 acres and took with it numerous structures, homes and landscapes.

A History of the Summit Inn

It wasn’t an architectural point of interest for SoCal, but it was a significant landmark along historical Route 66 that represented a picture of Americana from the heyday of 1950’s travel. The Summit Inn took its name from the original location, between the east and westbound lanes of Route 66 in 1928. The present location was in operation since 1952, when Route 66 was changed along a lower elevation. In 1966, a new owner hit the scene and took control of the Summit Inn, with the idea of having just a Texaco filling station. However, his idea was changed and he agreed to keeping the restaurant portion of the Summit Inn, if a local German woman took control of the food service. Hilda Fish took control of the restaurant and operated it until 2002, when she retired. Route 66 was demolished in 1970 to make way for I-15, but the Summit Inn remained in operation and became an major attraction for travelers between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Remembering an Icon

We are sad to see the loss of the Summit Inn. It represented the best of Americana and preserved the history of Route 66. It preserved the memory of the era for future generations to experience. It is too early into this epic fire event to know if the Summit Inn will be rebuilt. There was so much memorabilia and historical articles lost in the fire. We can only hope the Summit Inn will return to its place of honor on along the American highway where it deserves to be.

The Summit Inn

summit inn, route 66, historic

Those Were The Days

summit inn, historic route 66, route 66

A Bit of Americana

summit inn, historical route 66, route 66, americana

olympic architecture, custom lighting, custom lighting design,

Olympic Architecture: Designing for Gold

Olympic architecture as a competitive sport? Can you imagine architects competing for silver, gold and bronze medals in a global athletic event? There was a time that it was a competitive event. It was extremely important to  the overall culture of the Olympics. Imagine for a moment your favorite architect being able to qualify for competition, to be considered for an Olympic medal based on the judges’ evaluation of their work.

Architects Compete For Gold

Every Olympic games, the public debates heatedly about the true ‘sport’ of some events in the global competition. From event to event, certain sports are added to the competition, with others being dropped from the games. Fans of the Olympics sometimes struggle with the dilemma of what qualifies as a ‘sport’ for competition. From 1912 to 1948, the Olympics were much more encompassing events, recognizing all contributions to the cultural and sporting competition. During that period, the games included medals for the arts, literature, and architecture, as part of the slate of events, even awarding medals for town planning. The original vision of the Olympics was to provide a competition of sport, instead of what was more common, a competition using weapons and acts of war. The inclusion of these artistic categories ensured a wider range of human endeavors and the importance of architecture to the future of the host city. It also makes sense that good, sustainable design would be celebrated. The only Americans to win architecture medals during this period were Charles Downing Lay, who created the Marine Park in Brooklyn, and John Russell Pope, who was given a silver for his design for the Payne Whitney Gymnasium, at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut. Pope’s Gothic Revival giant, an outsized, 12-acre sports facility nicknamed the “temple of sweat,” is still in use today.

The Gold Goes To ADG Lighting

Even though the Olympic competition has changed since that period, we feel strongly that ADG Lighting could easily compete and win the gold! Our creativity and expertise makes us competitive against all others in the industry. Our extensive press page details the success of ADG Lighting across the industry. Our work has been viewed millions of times online and featured in several media outlets, including 20/Twenty Architectural & Beyond, California Homes Magazine, Elle Decor, SFV Business Journal, Architectural Digest, Institute of Classical Architecture Publications, Wall Street Radio, Fox News Charlene on Green Hawaii, North American Design’s Green Leaders of Tomorrow, LA City Watch, LUXE Magazine + other award-winning magazines, books, programs and properties around the world. 

Stop by and experience the work of a champion!

Payne Whitney Gymnasium

olympic architecture

Marine Park

olympic architecture

Hollyhock ADG Lighting

Hollyhock House: A Step Back in Time

Los Angeles is a premier destination for architecture. In any row of buildings or homes, it is a rarity to see two designed exactly alike. This unusual variety in design can be attributed perhaps to the climate, beautiful people, surreal blue skies and a laissez-faire attitude. This environment has always attracted everything from brilliant eccentrics and dreamers, to some of the best designers and architects in the world. As a result, Los Angeles is a must see city for those inspired by creative design and architecture.

Architecture At Its Best

One of the finest examples of architecture in Los Angeles is the Hollyhock House, in the heart of Barnsdall Park, built between 1919 and 1921. It represents a style of architecture known as “California Romanza.” This style name comes from the musical term meaning “freedom to make ones’s own form” and demonstrates Los Angeles’ significance as a trendsetter in the arts and architecture. The Hollyhock House represented the first house Frank Lloyd Wright designed in the Los Angeles community. The house was added to the national Register of Historic Places in 1971, then designated a National Historic Landmark in 2007. In February 2015, Hollyhock House was opened to the public after a multimillion dollar restoration project. Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti once stated that “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House is a crown jewel of Los Angeles architecture.”

Environment of Excellence

At ADG Lighting, we are proud to be part of community of design and architectural excellence. We were privileged to have worked on the Mat House in Reseda, California, designed by Frank’s son Lloyd Wright and known for its distinctive angular, thatch-like roof. The house was granted historic landmark status in 1996.

The Hollyhock House stands as a renowned and iconic tribute to the architectural creativity and excellence of Frank Lloyd Wright. Our creativity and design efforts are consistently inspired and challenged by the architectural representations in our community. Check out Gerald’s napkin sketch of the Hollyhock House.

Barnsdall Art Park

Our work has been viewed millions of times online and featured in several media outlets, including 20/Twenty Architectural & Beyond, California Homes Magazine, Elle Decor, SFV Business Journal, Architectural Digest, Institute of Classical Architecture Publications, Wall Street Radio, Fox News Charlene on Green Hawaii, North American Design’s Green Leaders of Tomorrow, LA City Watch, LUXE Magazine + other award-winning magazines, books, programs and properties around the world.