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Saturday, December 10, 2016

UCLA: University of California, Los Angeles

Last June my wife, kids and I were back in Southern California for a few of days. We took some time to drive around Los Angeles, seeing a few places my wife, kids and I remember from the five years we lived there. 

A bit random, but we stopped off in Pacific Palisades a couple of weeks before the big Caruso Project began transforming the community business district. I grew up in this neighborhood in L.A. - I appreciated seeing it, walking up and down Swarthmore Avenue, and taking some photos. Here's the link from a post from last month. 

Afterwards, we drove over to UCLA. I graduated from UCLA way back in 1984 - and my wife and I both worked at different times. Above, a view of Wilshire Blvd (looking through my windshield) a few blocks from campus. 

Obligatory stop at Diddy Riese, located next to UCLA in Westwood Village. Diddy Riese is famous for their outstanding  - and very affordable - ice cream sandwiches. On Friday and Saturday nights the line out the door can snake out the entire block. 

Above, the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. This was built in the 1960's and was the original UCLA hospital. Love the architecture, palm trees and even the flowers.

Across the street is the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Where's the landscaping? This is the best UCLA could come up with? In contrast to to the original orange brick medical center, this looks, well, awful. More like a factory than a hospital. Sorry. 

My son and I in front of the UCLA student union building (Ackerman Union) and "The Bruin" mascot statute. The statue has been on campus since 1984 - the year I graduated. 

According to our friends at Wikipedia, the UCLA the Bruins "have won 126 national championships, including 113 NCAA team championships, more than any other university. UCLA student-athletes, coaches and staff have won 251 Olympic medals: 126 gold, 65 silver and 60 bronze. UCLA student-athletes have competed in every Olympics since 1920 with one exception (1924), and have won a gold medal in every Olympics that the United States has participated in since 1932.

We took about 40 minutes to walk around the campus. Above is Kerckhoff Hall, the original student union. If Kerckhoff Hall looks familiar, perhaps it's because UCLA have been featured in dozens of movies, TV shows and commercials, including:
• Gotcha! (1985) 

• Higher Learning (1995)
• Legally Blonde (2001)
• Old School (2003)
• The Nutty Professor (1995)
• Erin Brockovich (2000)
• How High (2001)
• National Lampoon's Van Wilder (2002)
• American Pie 2 (2001)
• Bring It On Again (2004)

I'm not recommending any of these films. The only one I've actually seen is Legally Blond.  

Above is UCLA's signature building, Royce Hall. Royce Hall was one of the four original buildings when the campus opened in 1929 and is modeled after the Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio in Milan, Italy. 

In front of the Humanities Building, another one of the four original buildings (the others are Powell Library and Haines Hall). The inscription above the door is from the Hebrew Scriptures, Psalm 119  - verse 18: "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law." 

Walking a bit farther is the inverted fountain, which opened in 1968. 

Just off the Court of the Sciences in the south end of campus is the California NanoSystems Institute. Yes, it really was purposely designed this way. It's affectionally known as the Harry Potter Building, for obvious reasons. 

Why try to visit Hogwarts at Universal - when you can can enjoy UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute? OK, Hogwarts is great. But the NanoSystems building is free. 

While the building itself is closed to the public, you're free to walk around and enjoy the architecture. In my opinion, this is the least appreciated building in Los Angeles. 

This being Los Angeles, the area underneath is a .... the top level of a multi-level parking garage. Really? A parking lot? They couldn't have build some sort of garden, or patio, or food court? Missed opportunity, in my opinion. 

If you're anywhere near UCLA, this building is worth seeing.

Next stop, Levitated Mass and the La Brea Tar Pits. I'll post a few photos next month. 

© 2016

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