Fleetwood Center | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Fleetwood Center

On a street renowned for its “carchitecture,” is there any more literal form than a building shaped like the front of a Cadillac? This is the unlikely face of a strip mall in Tarzana that was completed in 1987 and apparently never held any Cadillac-related business, let alone the car dealership you might expect. Lee Oakes of architectural firm Matlin and Dvoretzky designed the two-story building for developer CBS Realcorp. In a 1987 Los Angeles Times article, he admitted the Mimetic style was outside his usual purview: “Very rarely do I have creative impulses like this. I was just walking around and saw this Cadillac grille. It just clicked.”

The building has angular corner turrets like the jutting front fenders of a ca. 1970 Caddy, punctuated by four “headlights” of circular neon, central windows arranged like a radiator grill, and first-floor masonry walls painted black to look like tires. It was designed expressly to draw attention to the block, and that it does, in a way that could not be more weirdly appropriate to its Ventura Boulevard setting. Tragically, its stucco finish is currently painted a subdued white, a far cry from its original shocking pink.

Exterior of Watts Happening Cultural Center. Photo by Rita Cofield.

Watts Happening Cultural Center

Since 1969, Black art, culture, and activism have flourished in this rare Late-Modern style building in the Watts neighborhood of South L.A.
Front facade, as seen in recent real estate promotional materials, Essex and Harvey, Coldwell Banker Previews International

Singleton Estate

Designed in the French Revival style, the 1970 Singleton Estate represents the combined creative visions of masters Wallace Neff, Thomas Church, and Philip Shipley.
The Kettle in 2019. Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy.

The Kettle

Opened in 1973, The Kettle was the first twenty-four hour restaurant in Manhattan Beach, and is now one of the few remaining in the South Bay.