there are so many l.a’s. which might sound like nonsense, as it’s also true of other cities. there are so many new yorks, and so many londons, and etc. but l.a is one of the most schizophrenic cities on the planet.
if you look in one direction it’s modern and urban.
another direction it’s old and urban.
another direction it’s a developing world city.
another direction it’s a bucolic affluent suburb.
another direction it’s the desert. and etc.
this building, the el royale, represents early 20th century hollywood royalty. when l.a and hollywood were birthing themselves daily, and trying to shape themselves into regal and quasi-european metropolises. or metropolii?
even then the battles raged (ok, maybe they didn’t rage). should l.a be modern? should it be traditional? so you have frank lloyd wright and richard neutra and schindler trying to make l.a into a modernist paradise. and then you have buildings like the el royale, which was the product of angelenos trying to make l.a into bavaria by the sea.
and now everything co-exists, at times peacefully, at times discordantly. and since the early 20th century the fray has been populated by even more l.a’s. the l.a of strip malls. the l.a of beige tract housing. the l.a of frank gehry. the l.a of everything.
so here’s the el royale. an apartment house palace swimming in a sea of palm trees and cactii.
i mean, you move to l.a in the early 20th century, you’re 10,000 miles from europe in the middle of the desert, so why not build a bavarian castle apartment house and surround it with palm trees?