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.

Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Chase Bank, Hollywood

One of his favorite mural-bearing bank buildings, architectural designer Millard Sheets drew on the Hollywood history of its location in a simple white New Formalist structure.
Federal Building
Photo by Nigel Lo

Federal Building

Clad in white concrete onto which public service messages were once projected including appeals for purchase of savings bonds, this cold-war era jewel exemplifies Corporate Late Modernism at its finest.
Mel's
Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Mel's

A great example of Louis Armet and Eldon Davis early Googie designs, showing their use of angled rooflines, dramatic signage, and other space-age elements that would become even more angled and dramatic in their later work.