A celebration of the architect of LA’s most iconic and enduring structures–at last

Author Stephen Gee
Author Stephen Gee

When TV producer Stephen Gee started hearing the name “John Parkinson” over and over on the conservancy tours he was taking of downtown Los Angeles, he decided to find out more.

Gee, who is British, had just started working in the neighborhood when he ducked into the public library to find a picture of Parkinson, the man behind the many downtown beautiful buildings that still stand today. His request for the John Parkinson section was met with a blank stare.

Gee decided to change that. He began researching the fellow Brit who left an indelible imprint on the city, from

LA's first skyscraper.
LA’s first skyscraper.

Union Station to City Hall to Bullock’s Wilshire to the Coliseum, and dozens of others to his credit. His resulting

book is called “Iconic Vision: John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles” and has just been published by Angel City Press.

For our conversation, Gee lured me up to the top of City Hall just before sunset. (If you haven’t been yourself, you must!)

 

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Below, a documentary about the architect:

Union Station was the culmination of a long battle.
Union Station was the culmination of a long battle.
Gee says even before he knew the architect of Bullock's Wilshire, he'd hope for a red light when he drove by so he could stare at its splendor.  Now, of course, it's a law school, not a department store.
Gee says even before he knew the architect of Bullock’s Wilshire, he’d hope for a red light when he drove by so he could stare at its splendor. Now, of course, it’s a law school, not a department store.