Ice Cube proves to be an apt guide on modern architecture in this Pacific Standard Time video about the Eames architect legends.
He reveals a little known fact about himself: before he became a rapper, he studied architectural drafting. Perhaps that's why he so eloquently discusses the Eames and their revolutionary contribution to modern architecture. Strolling around the Eames House in Pacific Palisades, he lovingly strokes the windows of the home and later exclaims, "they was doing mash-ups before mash-ups even existed."
In an interview with the New York Times, Ice Cube said he jumped at the chance to be a part of Pacific Standard Time's sprawling campaign to promote Southern California art. "What was appealing was showing off Los Angeles to people who think they know what Los Angeles is all about... Everybody who comes here thinks they got the place figured out, but you can never get this place figured out."
Driving down Inglewood Boulevard in South LA, the rapper also breaks down "the good, the bad and the ugly" about art and architecture in Los Angeles. Things that make his good list: the Forum, 5 Torches, Cockatoo Inn and Watts Towers.
For Ice Cube, the worst thing about LA is the worst thing on everyone's list: traffic. The 405 is filled with "bougie traffic." The 110 is "gangsta traffic." "There's a difference!" he insists. "You gotta know where you at."
Ice Cube's video is the third in a series of artist/performer collaborations for Pacific Standard Time. Check out actor Jason Schwartzman celebrating artist John Balderssari and Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis taking artist Ed Ruscha for a ride.
Watch Ice Cube pay homage to the Eames Home and then check out this Trazzler slideshow of Southern California's most iconic architecture.
Paying Respects to the Eames House in Pacific Palisades, California" width="52" height="52"/>
The late architectural historian Reyner Banham called it “The house that really taught the world’s architecture lovers to come to Los Angeles.” The 1949 Eames House is a National Historic Landmark. But where is it? Make an advance appointment through the Eames Foundation and you, too, can visit the near-perfectly preserved Case Study House No. 8 that you know from countless books and photographs. Hiding in a quiet residential street and situated on modest park-like grounds, overhung with eucalyptus, Charles and Ray’s human-scaled house and studio exemplify that moment in modern architecture when mass-produced glass and steel seemed like the perfect postwar kit of parts for affordable housing. It remains a paragon of modest, sensible living. By: GladysG | Photo: John Morse
Touring an Icon of Modern Architecture in Los Angeles, California" width="52" height="52"/>
R.M. Schindler worked for Frank Lloyd Wright who sent him to Los Angeles in 1920. There, he built the Kings Road House, famous for its sliding screens, concrete slab walls and its new layout of domestic space. Built in 1922, this innovative design was conceived as a dwelling for two families with a shared "utility room." Four rooms within the private dwelling areas were meant to be assigned specifically to an occupant. Inside the house you are immediately aware of the Yosemite inspiration for this odd home. It really feels like a wilderness camp, with fireplaces everywhere and concrete and wood surfaces to boot. The MAK Center has an office in the original garage—this branch of Austria's Museum of Applied Arts holds openings in the house and keeps it open to the public. By: Not For Tourists | Photo: Allan Ferguson
Angling for a View of the Bradbury Building in Downtown Los Angeles" width="52" height="52"/>
In downtown Los Angeles, no other building rivals the Bradbury Building for its kaleidoscopic mix of historic, modern, and timeless architectural styling. Walk inside and you will pass into a space thoroughly immortalized in film. In the morning sun, an attorney will swagger into the wrought iron cage elevator like Jack Nicholson as the 1930s Angelino, Jake Gittes in Chinatown. Afternoon visitors ramble through interiors from contemporary movies like Mission: Impossible and 500 Days of Summer. At night, you can search above for the dirigible crossing the atrium glass when J.F. Sebastien arrives home in Blade Runner. Each moment, yours and theirs, is a twist and turn of the same building. By: Billy Gonzalez | Photo: Billy Gonzalez
Peeking Into an Architectural Masterpiece in Los Angeles, CA" width="52" height="52"/>
This house is really a star. Built in 1929 by Richard Neutra, the Lovell Health House, as it was later called, was widely acclaimed and put Los Angeles on the map as far as residential architecture is concerned. So what is so special about it? The suspended concrete swimming pool for one. It was also the first steel frame house in the United States and Neutra managed the contracting himself, as no one would have known how to build this thing. Philip Lovell was a naturopathic physician and his cubist house was designed with health and fitness in mind, hence the name. The house and its gardens are rightly regarded as an architectural monument. The house is privately owned and you can't get the full effect from the street, but it's well worth a drive-by. By: Not For Tourists | Photo: Los Angeles
Lingering High Above Los Angeles at the Getty Museum" width="52" height="52"/>
During the gentle, five-minute tram ride up into LA's Brentwood hills, your eyes will widen at the ever-expanding view, climaxing at this sleek, postmodern hilltop museum. On a clear day, scan the enormous LA basin from the Pacific Ocean all the way east to the snow-capped mountains of Big Bear Lake. Designed by architect Richard Meier, the Getty is a monolith of off-white travertine, interspersed with conceptual artist Robert Irwin's exotic, flowering plant gardens. Inhale, absorb, touch, and feel to your heart's content — and you're not even inside the museum yet. By: Tracie Broom | Photo: Tracie Broom
Galloping Along the Beach to Union Station in Los Angeles, CA" width="52" height="52"/>
Time is a measure of distance, yet time is lost traversing the iron horse conduit from San Diego to Los Angeles Union Station. Soft shimmies and shakes will massage you in your seat aboard the northbound Surfliner. You will watch blurred vistas of muted shades of brown and green whiz by under blue-gray clouds. Between Trestles Beach and San Clemente Pier you can wave back to beachcombers and surfers. Miles are marked by the sounds of the trackety track and horn toots: long, long, short, long, played with Doppler affected clanging bells. You may see urban sprawl and industrial backsides, but what you will remember most is leaving through your exit portal, historic Union Station. By: Billy Gonzalez | Photo: Billy Gonzalez
Ferreting Out a Hollywood Rarity in Culver City, California" width="52" height="52"/>
Considering they are among the best-known examples of Los Angeles’s indigenous Storybook style of architecture, the Lawrence and Martha Joseph Residence and Apartments hide themselves well. Tucked in a short Culver City block capped by Sony Studios at one end and a Venice Boulevard median at the other, Historic Cultural Monument No. 624, with its gurgling ponds and quaintly thatched roofs, appears like a mirage to the casual passerby. The complex was built by former Disney artist Lawrence Joseph between 1946 and 1970, some time after this Hansel and Gretel aesthetic—a product of 1920s Hollywood—had waned. It was saved from the wrecking ball in 1996 by the widow Joseph, who donated an easement to the Los Angeles Conservancy. For a rare treat, pass by after dark: if the upper floors are lit up, you might see sumptuous interior details. By: GladysG | Photo: GladysG
Ordering Fried Chicken With a Side of Futuristic Architecture in LA" width="52" height="52"/>
I’m a big fan of that lovely genre of architecture they call "roadside." Here in southern California we've got more than our fair share of odd-shaped structures, starting with Randy's Donuts and Tail O' the Pup. This KFC does kind of look like one of the iconic chicken buckets if you look at it just right. At the same time, it also looks like it could be a deep-fried version of a Frank Gehry building—made of industrial metal panels instead of titanium. This KFC was built by Jeff Daniels in 1990. And yes, the architect did work with Gehry between 1978 and 1980. He created a fast-food outlet that feels like it’s from the future that never came to pass. Order on the first floor, then move upstairs to a very, very tall room with many windows. For a KFC, it’s super-deluxe dining. By: Not For Tourists | Photo: Not For Tourists
Wandering Among Whimsical Towers in Los Angeles, California" width="52" height="52"/>
In the middle of one of South Los Angeles’s most infamous neighborhoods, space-age spires rise almost 100 feet above the stucco bungalows and chain-link fences that line the streets. Built by an Italian immigrant named Simon Rodia in 1921, the Watts Towers are an intricate mosaic of broken pottery, glass, seashells, and hand-drawn designs. While you weave through this magical kingdom of candy-colored cement, imagine the 34 years it took for the lone artist to construct his maze of towers, gazebos, and birdbaths, using only simple hand tools and a window washer's belt. The friendly Arts Center next door offers guided tours, hosts festivals, and runs workshops. By: Rebecca Feinberg | Photo: Rebecca Feinberg
Meditating in an Alabaster Cathedral in Los Angeles, California" width="52" height="52"/>
In the early morning, and especially in the late afternoon when the California sun turns the sky to reds, and pinks, and yellows, the window shafts and Spanish alabaster panels of Our Lady of Angels splay golden light amidst the interior shadows of this unabashedly modern cathedral. At those moments even nonbelievers are moved by the intimacy of this eleven-story sanctuary. Finished in 2002, the cathedral is an architectural sanctuary; its angular interior softened by tapestries and cherry wood panels and pews. A maze-like mausoleum lies beneath the cathedral, hosting earthly remains as diverse as Saint Vibiana and Gregory Peck. Small galleries for meditation and art and history are located throughout. Wednesdays at lunchtime, public recitals are given on the 85-foot-tall, 6019-pipe organ. By: John Zappe | Photo: John Zappe
Ogling Gehry's Curvilinear Masterpiece in Los Angeles, California" width="52" height="52"/>
Feel the rumble of the LA Philharmonic and teeter forward in your seat to catch a better view of hot conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen's on-point baton gymnastics -- all while scanning the acoustically sophisticated interior of "starchitect" Frank Gehry's deconstructionist marvel, LA's Walt Disney Concert Hall. Function follows form in the enormous, curvaceous stainless steel exterior — the only thing like it in the world would be Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum — in Spain. By: Tracie Broom | Photo: Tracie Broom
Watching the Sunset from Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles" width="52" height="52"/>
Perched high above LA's hip Los Feliz neighborhood in woodsy Griffith Park, the Griffith Observatory is the premier destination (besides the beach of course) for watching sunsets in Los Angeles. Made famous in the James Dean movie Rebel without a Cause, the Observatory is a gorgeous piece of architecture, and the view — all the way across the LA basin to the Pacific, and then some — is truly stunning. As the sunset darkens, head inside to use the amazing Zeiss telescope or catch the last show of the night in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. By: Tracie Broom | Photo: Shannon Field
Appreciating Irving Gill's Influential Buildings in Oceanside, CA" width="52" height="52"/>
Irving Gill is one the greatest American architects that you've never heard of. Discovering his influential buildings all over Oceanside—many still in use—is a treasure hunt of the architectural kind, think Indiana Jones meets Frank Lloyd Wright. Considered San Diego’s greatest architect, Irving Gill's buildings range from a recently expanded Oceanside Museum of Art and Historical Society to private homes, a YMCA housing a Head Start program, a private military school, and even a furniture store that used to be a newspaper building. By: Dan Weisman | Photo: Richard O. Barry