James F. Real Studio-Office, Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument #951
Built: 1958 Declared: 04/22/2009
Built in 1958, the James F. Real Studio-Office was the first example of “thin-shelled” construction ever completed in Los Angeles, where the roof and supports were poured in a single piece, in a 2 inch reinforced concrete pyramidal hipped form. Originally conceived as the first of a series of research-oriented office structures, the current structure was the only one built. It was designed by Pasadena architect Arthur Lavagnino in conjunction with Pasadena engineer, William C. Taylor. It was then constructed by the Pacific Bridge Company of Alameda, California, best known as the principal contractor for the Golden Gate Bridge. Supported by four pillars, the roof is the primary load bearing section of the entire structure. This arrangement has left the walls as essentially free-standing additions to the main body of the building, that of the roof. The resource is also one of the earliest examples of Late Modernism, which was to become the last major phase of the Mid–Century Modernist movement in architecture. The use of unusual materials and unconventional designs were to become a hallmark of this last phase, where design was to become more like sculpture and traditional ideas were to be stretched, molded and in some cases discarded altogether. Engineer William C. Taylor and architect Arthur G. Lavagnino designed the building as an office for real estate developer James F. Real, the original owner of the adjacent Eagle Rock (HCM #10) and surrounding land.