LA: Capitol Rare 2 (2 of 2)


The address itself may not mean anything to most people or even to most residents of Hollywood, but 1750 Vine St. is home to a 13-storey building that is an instantly recognizable architectural icon of Los Angeles. The Capitol Records building suggests a stack of 45-rpm records (see image 1 of 2 here) on a turntable spindle. The structure was built in 1956, supposedly at the urging of Capitol recording stars Nat King Cole and Johnny Mercer, as the new headquarters for the hugely successful recording label. Architecturally nothing looked like the building then and nothing quite looks like it even now, almost fifty years after its completion. Designed by Welton Beckett, the structure is especially significant in that it is the world’s first circular office building and a prime example of futurism. That was a big deal back in ’56, but now buildings come in all sorts of un-box-like curvilinear shapes. The tip of the needle-like spire has a light that blinks out the spelling for Hollywood in Morse code into the low-rise skyline. On the south wall, at the base of the building, is a famous mural called “Hollywood Jazz,” which includes images of Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday. The star for John Lennon in the Hollywood “Walk of Fame” is set in the sidewalk in front of the building.

Ivan Corsa Photo

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