I enjoy helping organizations like the Los Angeles Conservancy and the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation. Most people do not have the time to drive around places like Los Angeles looking at all our endangered or historic structures in person. This is why photographs are so important to preservation movements. Recently I shot the Norms restaurant on La Cienega (1957, Louis Armet and Eldon Davis) for the LA Conservancy, and to my surprise the images were picked up and reposted all across the internet.
Los Angeles Conservancy
“On January 15, 2015, the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) voted unanimously to consider Norms La Cienega Coffee Shop for Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) status. This decision protects the building from demolition during the nomination process, which will continue for several months.
Designed by influential modern architects Louis Armet and Eldon Davis and completed in 1957, Norms La Cienega is an exuberant example of the California coffee shop type and an expressive Googie masterwork.
In December 2014, the Conservancy and its Modern Committeenominated Norms La Cienega for designation as an HCM for its association with the firm of Armet & Davis, its pioneering Googie design, and its enduring significance in Los Angeles’ postwar landscape.
On January 5, the new owner of the Norms property (not the restaurant chain) applied for and received a permit to demolish the building at 470-478 La Cienega Boulevard. A representative for the new owner told the Cultural Heritage Commission that the owner has no plans to demolish the building.
Regardless of the active permit, the Cultural Heritage Commission’s decision on January 15 protects the building from demolition until City Council acts on this issue. If the building is designated as an HCM, it will receive more robust protectionunder the City’s Cultural Heritage Ordinance.
The Norms restaurant chain dates back to 1949, when owner Norman Royback opened the first location at Sunset and Vine. The business remained in the family for three generations, but was sold in late 2014.”
The Architects Newspaper – Will Norms Be Googie Gone?
“Just a few days ago, Alison Martino’s phone was ringing off the hook. The social media doyenne of the Facebook group Vintage Los Angeles, a photo-driven celebration of iconic LA places and people, was commiserating with Googie architecture enthusiasts, who just learned that their beloved Norms restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard was threatened by a demolition permit pulled by the property’s new owner.” Read the rest of the well written article here.
The Guardian – When heaven was a drive-thru hamburger
“When I first found Norms, a diner on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles, I didn’t know it might be a historic monument. I was looking for a place to eat, and found something appealing in the five-times stacked sharp-angled kites of its vertical sign, and their echoes in the repeating over-sized shapes of its roof structure. I liked the fearless optimism and joyful redundancy of the design, the plays of clunk and refinement, vegetation and industrial product, of orange letters against the complementary blue of the California sky. On the inside the glass walls give the contact with the exterior that you might get in a classic modernist house in the lush hills of Pacific Palisades, the bright sunlight modified by deep eaves.
I also have a weak spot for the deep predictability of the menus in American diners, their unwavering breakfasts and hamburger options, and the liberation that they offer from thought. Los Angeles is one of the greatest cities in the world for architecture of the 20th century, from its first decade to its last, which means I go there from time to time. So, when I do, I revisit Norms.” Read the rest of this article here.
NBC Los Angeles, Beverly Hills Courier, and many more are still reporting on the story.