CRF Blog

John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles

by Bill Hayes

In Building Up L.A., the Los Angeles Times reviews Iconic Vision: John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles by Stephen Gee. Parkinson designed USC’s Campus Master Plan, the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, L.A. City Hall, Bullocks Wilshire, Union Station, and many other Los Angeles landmarks.

One of his first projects was the city’s first-class “A” steel-frame structure, the Homer Laughlin Building, now Grand Central Market, in 1896. Next was the town’s first skyscraper, the 12-story Braly Block building. USC was a small Methodist institution when he was asked to design a master plan for the campus.

“In a way Parkinson is more than just an architect, he’s a sort of a founder of Los Angeles, especially in the 1920’s,” noted Historian Kevin Starr.

Many believe the construction of Parkinson’s Memorial Coliseum was crucial to securing the 1932 Olympics. Yet his greatest achievement may well have been the soaring City Hall. “It speaks to this bold ambition and expression of the city reaching it’s potential,” said Gee. [more]