Bullock's Wilshire / Southwestern Law School | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Hunter Kerhart

Bullock's Wilshire / Southwestern Law School

Many consider the former Bullock's Wilshire department store building their favorite building in Los Angeles, not to mention its most spectacular example of Art Deco design. It also perfectly reflects the city's history and evolution.

The building was the first department store in the country designed for the automobile, with large display windows facing the street, the main entrance facing a large parking lot in the back, and a remarkable porte cochere (carport). This "cathedral of commerce" signaled a new era of suburban shopping and fostered the development of Wilshire Boulevard, luring the city west.

Designed by the great John Parkinson, the Bullock's Wilshire building is a five-story marvel clad in buff-hued terra cotta with vertical recesses and copper spandrels. Out of the building soars a luminous verdigris-coated spire soaring 241 feet. Bullock's Wilshire featured unparalleled interior design, including custom Lalique light fixtures and artwork by more than a dozen artists from around the world. It holds a special place in the hearts of Angelenos with fond memories of shopping in the luxurious setting and visiting the elegant Tea Room on special occasions.

After facing an uncertain future in the 1990s, the building was purchased by neighboring Southwestern Law School, which spent ten years and $29 million to restore historic elements while adapting the building for state-of-the-art academic use. This world-renowned landmark now enjoys new life as an inspirational learning environment and a prime example of adaptive reuse.

Tower Theatre photo
Photo by Annie Laskey/L.A. Conservancy

Tower Theatre

The Tower Theater opened in 1927, was the first theatre designed by renowned theatre architect S. Charles Lee. The creative designer was able to fit 900 seats an ground floor retail onto a tiny corner lot.