Barclay Bank and Shops Building | Los Angeles Conservancy
Barclay Bank and Shops Building
Photo by Lynne Tucker

Barclay Bank and Shops Building

The Barclay Bank building on Brighton Way in Beverly Hills is an unusually accessible Late Modern bank building, seeming to step down to the street to meet you halfway. Completed in 1972, it was designed by renowned architect Ray Kappe of Kahn Kappe Lotery Architects.

The building contained retail businesses as well as a bank, and is dominated by retail today. Kappe is best known for his residential designs, especially his horizontal wood-and-glass houses like the one he designed for himself, nestled in natural settings and blending into the environment. The Barclay Bank building presents an interesting application of the same basic principles to a commercial design in an urban environment: the building is carefully integrated into its setting, with a horizontal orientation and a friendly scale that beckons pedestrians to come inside.

From the corner of Brighton and Bedford, a one-story volume clad in brick and dominated by glass entryways steps up to a two-story volume, which then steps up to the third story.

All levels feel open, with long horizontal bands of floor-to-ceiling dark glass windows supported by brick walls.

The second floor of the Brighton Way façade features projecting, all-glass window bays popping out to display their wares. When it comes to site appropriateness and sheer grace expressed in scale and massing, Kappe’s Barclay Bank is a true accomplishment.

Photo by Jessica Burns/L.A. Conservancy

Comerica Bank

Constructed by an unknown architect at South Pasadena's most prominent commercial intersection, the building was significantly altered when it was converted to a furniture store in the 1950s.
Photo by Michael Locke

Norton Simon Museum

Inspired by Pasadena's Craftsman residences, its Beaux Arts City Hall, and Streamline Moderne and Late Moderne commercial buildings, the museum was designed to blend into and reference its urban surroundings.