The Darkroom | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Tim Street-Porter

The Darkroom

Originally a camera shop, this unique structure (now a restaurant) is one of the city's last remaining examples of programmatic architecture, in which a building physically resembles its purpose.

The façade's nine-foot-tall Argus camera announced The Darkroom's wares quite literally. Some claim that during the building's heyday, the tenant would project short films through the camera lens/window for pedestrians to watch.

Although the famed store is long gone, the black vitriolite facade remains as a protected city landmark (Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument).

Yet its Art Deco neon signage was not protected. Removed and hidden for decades in a private collection, the sign is now owned by the Museum of Neon Art.

Kentucky Fried Chicken
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Kentucky Fried Chicken

In the late 1980s, Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisee Jack Wilke wanted his location to have a design that paid tribute to the Googie architecture with playful, Deconstructivist design.
Photo from Conservancy Archives

Chapman Plaza

One of the first markets in the western U.S. designed for the car.
Image courtesy Security Pacific National Bank Collection/Los Angeles Public Library

The Tamale

A rare remaining example of programmatic architecture, The Tamale was designed to advertise its products to passing motorists.