Robert Frost Auditorium, Culver City High School | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Robert Frost Auditorium, Culver City High School

The Robert Frost Memorial Auditorium at Culver City High School is one of the most breathtaking Modern buildings ever designed. Its scale and ambition are such that its full beauty can really only be appreciated from above—an aerial view shows its massive roof draped over the auditorium like an enormous leaf.

Completed in 1964, the Organic Modern-style building was designed by architectural firm Flewelling and Moody, which executed many school designs during the postwar period. Flewelling and Moody used reinforced concrete to create the roof, which is part dome and part folded plate. It tops a circular brick building with little ornamentation. The dome is bisected by a huge wall of glass sitting atop and on either side of the circular volume, and is anchored to the ground by a single curved concrete leg arcing over the front entrance. This leg reminds some of those on the Theme Building at LAX, another demonstration of the architectural and artistic potential of reinforced concrete.

The Robert Frost Auditorium’s unusual design was inspired partially by the building’s irregularly-shaped plot within the high school campus. Flewelling’s futuristic building accommodates audiences of over 1,300 people and contains shops, practice rooms, and all other facilities necessary for the education of the young thespian. It is truly a remarkable building that nearly defies description.

Orville Wright Middle School
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Orville Wright Middle School

Facing an enormous population explosion in the postwar period and not nearly enough classrooms for students, LAUSD solicited designs for the school building program from a variety of talented architects vying to design the ideal school.
Photo by Michael Locke

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The lone surviving hallmark of an L.A. institution lives on in part because of a public outcry and a chain of greasy spoon diners.