Sears Santa Monica | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Trudi Sandmeier

Sears Santa Monica

When Sears, Roebuck and Company built its Santa Monica department store in 1947, it did so at an interesting time for commercial development. Shopping areas were starting to shift away from pedestrian-oriented storefronts with designs tailored to walking, moving toward automobile-oriented centers with large parking lots and façades for catching the motorist’s eye.

The Sears building, designed by noted local architect Rowland Crawford, managed to capture that time of transition: it has a 200-car parking lot situated at its rear and side, and a primary entrance that opens onto the sidewalk on Colorado Avenue. Crawford’s Late Moderne design also captures the era’s feeling of optimism and growth, with a large scale and stylish architectural touches that advertised Sears as a forward-looking company.

The two-story building is rectangular and horizontal, with a flat roof and two entrance elevations in addition to the main one on Colorado. It features patterns of horizontal and vertical striations in its reinforced concrete façades, with horizontal window bands at its top and curving, cantilevered canopies shading its entrances. The main entrance has dramatic window bays and the largest of the canopies.

These decorative elements, plus stylized plaster bas-reliefs and original signage, mark the department store as a rare and wonderfully intact example of the Late Moderne style and as a building more than worthy of its Santa Monica landmark status.

Photo by Lauren Everett/L.A. Conservancy

Brockman Building and Annex

The opulence of the original façade, which features elaborate terra cotta detailing and a copper cornice, was the only one in the city at the time of its construction.
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Al Larson Boat Shop Complex

The Al Larson Boat Shop (ALBS) is among the longest-running businesses at the Port of Los Angeles, and one of the few remaining that relate to its rich tradition of shipbuilding and repair.
Photo courtesy www.you-are-here.com

Bob's Big Boy

This Toluca Lake landmark escaped the wrecking ball, thanks to the Conservancy's Modern Committee.