Chase Bank, Glendale | Los Angeles Conservancy
Chase Bank
Photo by Tom Davies

Chase Bank, Glendale

New Formalist pavilions typically appear in environments such as college campuses and institutional complexes, so it is a refreshing treat to see one housing a bank on busy Glendale Boulevard.

The Prudential Savings and Loan building (now containing a Chase Bank) is a beautiful example of a Modern style that truly glorifies its surroundings. It was designed by prolific architects Thornton Ladd and John Kelsey and completed in 1964. The building is symmetrical and has a monumental feel, thanks in part to its double-height glass windows interspersed with vertical wood cladding.

The most dramatic part of the design is, of course, the dramatically overhanging flat roof, which extends far beyond the building's main volume to create a shaded, open arcade all the way around the perimeter. It is supported by massive tapering concrete columns, and its underside features a fabulously graphic, raised grid pattern.

The pavilion is surrounded by a manicured, almost sculptural landscape of lush green lawns, mature trees, low shrubs and Zen garden-like accents of natural boulders and abstract "streambeds" of river cobbles.

A walk around the shady site will make you forget the building is on a busy street corner instead of a grand estate somewhere. Ladd and Kelsey's Prudential Savings design represents the best of New Formalist design, and is a good reminder of the architectural aspirations many banks embraced during the postwar period.

Panorama Bank
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Panorama Bank

This elongated concrete dome structure with its expanses of glass walls resembles nothing so much as an alien spacecraft touched down in the middle of Panorama City's shopping district.
Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Waxman House

An adaptation to its steeply sloping lot, the Waxman House is more vertical than horizontal and reflects architect J. Barry Moffitt's own distinctive mark on the methods and materials of Modernism.
Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Van Dekker House

When the Van Dekker house went on the market in 2009, it faced a highly uncertain future and could have easily been considered a teardown. Fortunately, two successive owners started, and then completed, a remarkable restoration and rehabilitation.