Thursday, February 4, 2010

3rd street + the grove drive

The Grove never fails to fascinate me. According to developer Caruso Affiliated it is built in a signature, eponymously named "CarusoStyle," which must mean a cartoon style of an original archetype, to paraphrase James Howard Kunstler. There's indeed a lot of cartooning going on in this photo.

Let's start with the Palazzo apartment complex on the left, designed to evoke the rust-colored village of Sienna — only gated, stuccoed, and cut off from the rest of the world. Its exaggerated style (too-bright color, too many gables) is an attempt to avoid being dwarfted by the six-lane road it faces.

Lines of dance dot the intersection as you cross to the southeast corner of The Grove, which is also over-built in a large Vegas casino style to be readable from a speeding car's point of view. The giant awnings + massive moulding, that huge, ornamental cupola, the grand-ish staircase entrance that sees almost no foot traffic — all these features do their best to disguise what is basically a big-box (archaic: department) store designed for maximum customer traffic + minimum staff. The plants down by the staircase feel like a token gesture — a sprig of parsley huddled against a 72-oz finish-it-and-it's-free steak.

Narrowing this street makes sense in that it brings together two major hubs of residence + commerce, but it also has the odd side effect of emphasizing the giant proportions of its car-centric building design. See it narrowed!
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About the Photographer

Los Angeles, CA, United States
Writer, designer, and urban planning geek.

Got a location idea or photo submission? Send it to I'll post it to the blog or even run out to shoot it myself.


Other sites by David Yoon
Personal site

Kindred Spirits
Tom Baker, LA Without Cars
James Howard Kunstler

Nicola Yoon Design
SIFT Angeles


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