Robinson’s/Target | Los Angeles Conservancy
Target
Photo by Tom Davies

Robinson’s/Target

When J. W. Robinson Co. opened its fourth department store in 1958, it marked the company’s seventy-fifth anniversary and made a triumphant addition to Pasadena’s commercial landscape. 

Robinson’s began in Los Angeles in 1883 and became one of Southern California’s landmark businesses, establishing large department stores in downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Palm Springs before turning to the burgeoning community of Pasadena. The city was flourishing in the postwar period, and stores like Bullock’s placed a claim on the patronage of its affluent residents.

Robinson’s hired luminary mid-century architects William L. Pereira and Charles Luckman to design the new three-story store. The building occupied an entire city block on Colorado Boulevard and was sited and planned to include areas for prime Rose Parade viewing.

The building’s main volume is a monumental, mostly unadorned box clad in painted brick, terrazzo panels, brown tiles, and expanses of pebble-adorned concrete. Iron trellises run along two sides of the building, adding a sense of framing to the simple structure. In a nod to the ever-increasing domination of the automobile, the store included a three-story concrete parking structure that could park 700 cars.

This impressive Mid-Century Modern building lives on as a Target, after a brief life as a Robinsons-May; in 1993, it became Target’s first multilevel store.

Junipero Serra State Office Building
Photo courtesy Nadel Architects

Junipero Serra State Office Building

Arthur T. Letts established his new business in a rented space at the corner of Fourth Street and Broadway, eventually expanding the company, The Broadway Department Store, into California's largest retail establishment of the era.
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Sepulveda Rose

This understated post-and-beam apartment complex is a very graceful application of the Mid-Century Modern post-and-beam idiom to a large-scale building, and deserves notice among Dorman’s higher-profile works.