Friday, December 30, 2011

Cornerstones and Names

One more post before the new year.  Going away for the weekend and I've got to dive into classes on the fourth, so I may not have time to update this for awhile.  Won't have much new, anyway.  I tried to get a few more photos and the manager, Oscar, came out and yelled at me.  Called me a peeping tom and said he was going to call the police.  He didn't seem to remember me from the time when i asked about the apartments but that was over a year ago now.

There's a cornerstone, but it's buried behind bushes and a tree (from the street).  Left hand corner if you're facing the building.  I've gotten a couple half-assed photos of it.  It's hard enough to keep standing out on the street taking photos.  People don't react well (like Oscar didn't).

There aren't any pictures that show the whole thing, but I've gotten it from a couple angles and I think the finished thing looks like this.
Its a crap picture, I know.  I had a nice version I made in photoshop that had the engraving font and the granite patterns and all that, but it was one of the things that vanished from my computer.  1894 isn't that old, but its pretty old for Los Angeles.  Downtown was around then, but most everything between there and Santa Monica was either oil fields or undeveloped land.  There wasn't even a Hollywood yet, or Hollywoodland as it was first called.

I keep calling this place the Kavach Building, but I don't know if that's its real name.  It's the word engraved on the lintel above the main door.  It's all caps.  KAVACH.  I've tried to get a picture of it but half of them there's a branch in the way and the other half got deleted by whatever bug hit my hard drive.

Lots of places use "Kavach" for a name if you Google it.  It's Hindu, if these translations are right.  It might just be a general blessing or something.  I wonder if the building had a Hindu architect.

Theres heraldry on the building's facings, but it's blank.  It doesn't match up with anything i can find in books or online.  It makes me wonder if maybe it isn't actual heraldry.  Maybe it's just a picture of a shield.  It could just be something the architect saw and liked.  The building is kind of a mishmash of styles.
I just took this picture two weeks ago.  Theres nothing on the shields but a diagonal stripe.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

This is interesting

This is a picture of the Kavach Building from Google Earth.  I added the red square.  Thats not the interesting part.

I came up with the idea to grab this picture just as something else to put here on the blog.  And when I thought of it I thought this would be cool, because even from street level I can see there's some neat things up on the roof.  I think there's another apartment or a penthouse or something up there.  So I thought this would mean I could get a better look at those and I felt stupid for not thinking of it before.

But get this.  I can't.  If I try to use the sidebar slider thing to get any closer the map goes all gray-blue and I get the message "We are sorry, but we don't have imagery at this zoom level for this region.  Try zooming out for a broader look."

It's like the Goggle satellites just skimmed over this part of the city and didn't want to look too close at it.  I even tried searching Hollywood and dragging the map over this way.  As soon as it gets to the Kavach Building I get the zoom level message

Curioser and Curioser

Sunday, December 18, 2011

No Room For You!

Okay, so, how I found this place.

I was doing a project for MUA 515 (Modern Urban Architecture).  I drove around to different parts of the city and took pictures of some of the buildings there.  I hit downtown and Hollywood and Little Tokyo and Hancock Park and Koreatown and Silverlake and all of the older sections of Los Angeles.

That's when I first noticed the Kavach Building.  I'd gone to that area to photograph some of the old movie star mansions that had been cut up into apartments.  Kavach stood out like a sore thumb.  At least, it did to me.  I bet most people don't even notice that it's a good thirty or forty years older than everything else in that section of town.  It's probably the kind of thing that only people who've studied architecture would notice.

It was enough to make me want a closer look, and my lease was running out anyway.  So I figured I could move in for six months or a year or something.  It might make a really interesting chapter in my book.

I tried to talk to the manager.  Nothing.  No number on the call box.  The two times I managed to get through the gate I couldn't find a manager's apartment or anything.

I ran into this guy on the street once while I was taking pictures.  His name was Oscar.  I think he was German or something.  Definite accent.  He said he was the building manager, but he also said they didn't have any apartments they could rent.  I remember he worded it that way.  Any apartments they could rent.  Like there were empty rooms, but they couldn't rent them for some reason.  I asked him to give me a card but he didn't have one.  I asked if he could give me a rental application and he went into the building and left me standing on the sidewalk.

I looked it up on Westside Rentals.  Nothing.

It was like the more I looked for the place the less it existed.  I don't know how they get new tenants because it never advertises or anything.  But I saw one guy moving in back in March (a big surfer-looking guy, kind of like Danny from frisbee golf with more hair and less beard) so I know they are renting them.

That's kind of funny.  I just looked back and realized I typed "it never advertises."  I did that once on the last blog.  Like the building is choosing who lives in it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fourth times a charm

Okay, so now I'm trying this again.  For the fourth time or maybe the fifth.  I've lost track.

In May of 2010 I saw this neat old building here in Los Angeles.  I was doing a photo project for school and saw this great old brick building that was kind of a halfbreed, architecturally speaking.  I'm working on my masters in architectural engineering, and I've been thinking of doing a book on the different architectural styles that you can find all over the city.  It was kind of like a Neo-Renaissance building had a one night stand with a Romanesque Revival and tried to pass their kid off as a Georgian.

But I'll get to how I found it soon enough.  Maybe in the next post, if this blog stays around long enough.  The real point is, over the past few years I've become kind of obsessed with this building.  Mostly because I can't find out anything about it.

This is one of the only one of my original pictures I've still got.
It was taken in late October of 2010.
Not sure of the exact day. About a week before Halloween
I think I need to be clear on that.  I can't find anything out about it.  Every time I try, something goes wrong.  I've had a bunch of files get corrupted on my hard drive.  I left my flash drive in my jeans and it got wrecked in the laundry.  Email's vanish.  Letters get lost in the mail.

I tried setting up a blog and hoped I might find someone else who'd seen it before.  And maybe help sell the book idea if I went with that.  And that was cool and going great and I even had some followers.

And then the blog vanished.  Just up and gone.  It was here on Blogspot, so it was free, so I wasn't that annoyed.  I mean, it was just some work I'd done at night.  Then I found out I'd wrecked the flash drive and lost all those photos.  So I tried again on Wordpress and that one vanished, too.  I bought my own domain and set it up again and some jerk slammed it and wanted a hundred bucks to get it back.  And so now I'm back here on Blogger (fourth time, okay).  And I'm wondering if it's even worth the effort anymore because part of me expects this one to vanish any day now, just like everything else that I've tried to out together about this place.

I guess that's why I keep doing this.  I’m worried I might vanish too.