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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Googie Architecture: Jack Colker's 76 Station, Beverly Hills

On the corner of Santa Monica Blvd & Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills sits "Jack Colker's 76" gas station, one of the best surviving examples of what is known internationally as "Googie" architecture.

According to this wikipedia article, Googie architecture originated here in Los Angeles and was based on the car culture and optimistic Space and Atomic themes of the 1950's and early 1960's. In addition to roofs slooping at an upward angle and large glass windows, buildings featured boomerangs, flying saucers, atoms, starbursts and parabolas in the designs.

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The name "Googie" is based on the Googies Coffee Shop located on the corner of Sunset Blvd & Cresent Heights here in Los Angeles. When Yale University Professor Douglas Haskell saw the building on a visit to L.A., he ordered his car stopped and proclaimed, "This is Googie architecture." The name stuck. Unfortunately, the building didn't. Googies Coffee Shop was torn down a few years ago.

The 76 Station in Beverly Hills is one of the best existing examples of Googie architecture here in Los Angeles. It's curved roof was was originally designed in 1965 for LAX by world-renound architect William Pereira. Looks like something out of the old cartoon series "The Jetsons" (remember that show?). 

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When Pereira's design wasn't needed at the airport, it ended up as a gas station. LAX's loss becoming Beverly Hill's gain. 

Of course, LAX has the Theme Building, which is argueable the greatest example of Googie architecture in the world. I'll re-post some photos and thoughts on that next week. 

originally published 11/21/2009 
© 2013


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