Is this building the poster child for late-modernism? No, it isn’t. But maybe it should be. It’s certainly one of the boldest, loudest manifestations of late modernism. (A more agreeable candidate for this distinction of “poster child” might be the Citicorp Building in New York City.)
The building pictured is known as “the Blue Whale.” Officially it’s the Center Blue building of the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, in Los Angeles. Unlike many late-modernist style buildings, which sprung from the legacy of sleek, glass-skinned, minimalist International Style office towers and architect Mies van de Rohe, the Blue Whale is not a tall, slender tower. It’s a relatively low-slung structure with a long footprint many times greater than its height. It’s so long that it appears as if the it’s a skyscraper turned on its side.
And then there’s the color. As its name suggests, it’s blue — A bright, confident primary blue. The building possesses a neat, restrained, urbane swagger, at once cool, “designery” and unabashedly unconventional. It’s a landmark that immediately would stand out in a police line-up of late-modern buildings.