The Mayan in Los Angeles

To control SPAM, you must now be a registered user to post to this Message Board.

EFFECTIVE 14 Nov. 2012 PRIVATE MESSAGING HAS BEEN RE-ENABLED. IF YOU RECEIVE A SUSPICIOUS DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS AND PLEASE REPORT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION.

This is the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy's Message Board. Wright enthusiasts can post questions and comments, and other people visiting the site can respond.

You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, *-oriented or any other material that may violate any applicable laws. Doing so may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned (and your service provider being informed). The IP address of all posts is recorded to aid in enforcing these conditions. You agree that the webmaster, administrator and moderators of this forum have the right to remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time they see fit.
Tom
Posts: 3213
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

The Mayan in Los Angeles

Post by Tom »

Just recently learned of The Mayan theater in Los Angeles built in 1927. It has this Wrightian textile block feel to it. The Ennis house is built in '24, so I'm wondering if there was a Mayan "craze" in LA during the 20's, or did Wright's work have something of a ripple effect in LA during this time.

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10420
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

There are many old buildings that use the same Mayanesque material all over the LA area. I think it was a craze of the late 20s and early 30s, not only in theatres, but also pharmacies, coffee shops, clothing stores, etc. Whether or not Ennis inspired them is speculation. Personally, I doubt it.

SDR
Posts: 19801
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »


Reidy
Posts: 1604
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 3:30 pm
Location: Fremont CA

Post by Reidy »

Perhaps the inspiration was the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego. Most of the architecture was Mission Revival, but some was Pre-Columbian.
Lloyd worked on the landscape design, and a visit to the fair was what convinced Aline Barnsdall to move to California.

My favorite example is 450 Sutter in San Francisco.

Tom
Posts: 3213
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

I've been to the Fisher Building in Detroit. It is like going back in time to the 20's.
Never thought to consider it an example of Mayan Revival Architecture before.
In fact never really heard of a formal movement called Mayan Revival architecture until this link which linked to the Fisher.

But get a load of this about it's lobby:

"The building also is home to the Fisher Theatre, one of Detroit's oldest live theatre venues.
The theatre originally featured a lavish Aztec-themed interior in the Mayan Revival style,
and once had Mexican-Indian art, banana trees, and live macaws that its patrons could feed."

One considers the "Wonka" effect. Yet I kinda like this description.
Funny line between fine art and popular delight.

Next off to read about the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Never heard of that before either:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panama_Ca ... Exposition

Iowegian63
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:03 pm

Post by Iowegian63 »

Somewhere I read that the National Geographic Society had sponsored several expeditions to Mayan archeological sites in the late 1910s and 1920s that were published in the magazine. I suppose this could have been the ultimate inspiration for the whole craze. I am also sure Mr. Wright would deny that he was part of any trend, whether he actually was or not :)

Tom
Posts: 3213
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

East coasters probably not as familiar with all this as the West coasters among us. I wasn't.
The Panama-California Exposition in San Diego and the Pacific-Panama Exposition in San Francisco (Maybeck Palace of Fine Arts fame)took place simultaneously.
The big occasion for all this that drew everyone's attention to South America at this time was the opening of the Panama Canal.
The San Diego Committee tried to hire John Galen Howard as Master Planner. He declined.
Howard had already designed an Expo in Buffalo NY around the time Wright was working there. Bertram Goodhue took Howards place in San Diego along with Irvin Gill.
Gill could not work underneath Goodhue. He resigned ... imagine
what the San Diego Expo would have been had Gill been director of design.

Reidy
Posts: 1604
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 3:30 pm
Location: Fremont CA

Post by Reidy »

The Pomegranite calendar several years ago carried a drawing of what it said was Wright's design for a movie theater at the San Diego expo, but I can't find a listing in Three Quarters of a Century of Drawings. In 1915 it would have been one of the very first movie theaters.

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10420
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

In Taschen, Cinema Project is listed as 1917, Vol. 1, page 505. This, along with the similar Kehl Dancing Studio Project of 1914 (page 466), is a great loss for not having been executed. Two other early motion picture projects are the one for Tokyo (1918, Vol. 2, page 70 - no photo) which led directly to the one for Aline Barnsdall (page 60) dated 1920, curious in that they are both theaters in the round. I don't know how motion pictures would work in such structures. Perhaps it was FLW predicting holograms?

Reidy
Posts: 1604
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 3:30 pm
Location: Fremont CA

Post by Reidy »

Disneyland ca. 1960 had such a theater (not the hologram show that came later). A circle of projectors in the center of the ceiling beamed a picture onto the upper, outer walls. Presumably they shot it by moving a similar circle of cameras through the scene on a platform. Viewers stood and looked up to watch it. You can see why it didn't catch on.

Tom
Posts: 3213
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

Macrodex has the Kehl Dance Academy building on Visions of Wright.
He's also got the San Diego Theater project too, listed as Cinema 1915.

Tom
Posts: 3213
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

Can anyone make out the handwritten notes on the San Diego Cinema drawing?
The top left hand corner seems to show a date before the turn of the century.
Wondering what that's all about?

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10420
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

The drawing in Taschen has "c 1906" in the lower left corner. In "FLW, From Within Outward," page 145, is a significantly different version of the design with notes "1897 Perspective by Louis Rasmussen", "Frank Lloyd Wright Architect 1897" and "San Diego 190(?)." The Taschen version has an automobile and people in fashion that clearly date from the 'teens, while the Within/Outward book has an earlier style auto and fashion that includes several men wearing top hats.

From the conflicting dates and alterations to the design, it would appear that this project originated during the earlier period and was later resurrected and updated. The 190(?) date on the earlier drawing probably was added by FLW at a later date. The original project, if it dates back to 1897 or even as late as 1906, was probably a legit theater rather than motion picture.

Tom
Posts: 3213
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

Rg, just read your last on this thread. 1897 ... that's what I thought it said too.
... and in San Diego?
No, not in San Diego.
... must be a previous design adapted later for San Diego.
In any case if taken at face value wouldn't that date (1897) make this theater one of his earliest break through designs?

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10420
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

The early design appears in Mono 12 "In His Renderings," plate 33, numbered 0517.02, and dated 1905(?), the question mark clearly indicating that BBP was not sure of the date for lack of written evidence. In Mono 2/183 is the second rendering plus a floor plan, section and elevation, also dated 1905 by BBP. According to the floor plan, this was intended as a legit theatre rather than a motion picture theater. I believe FLW back-peddled at a much later time. Perhaps he had a possible commission for a movie palace in San Diego, and just pulled this old design from his vault.

When did John settle in SD? Could the old man have been trying to steal a commission from his kid? "Why settle for the coupon when you could have the original bond?"

Post Reply