LA Architecture Tours, Sightseeing & Tourism

Pudleaux Tourism offers a variety of Architecture Tours in Los Angeles, California.
Featuring the Silver Lake Neutra Tour and LA Frank Lloyd Wright Tour

Los Angeles Architecture Tours: Bullock's Wilshire: John and Donald Parkinson, 1929. HCM #56


Bullock's Wilshire is one of the most magnificent expressions of Art Deco architecture in Los Angeles. Built in 1929 and designed by John and Donald Parkinson, Bullock's Wilshire rises from Wilshire Boulevard with class and strength. The building expresses its height with uninterrupted, vertical piers and recessed windows highlighted by copper detailing. Bullock's Wilshire appears taller than it actually is, heightened by the thin tower that rises from the mass of limestone.  

The decision by Bullock's to open this location on Wilshire, outside of central downtown Los Angeles, signaled a cultural shift that glorified the automobile and enhanced Wilshire Boulevard's development as a linear downtown. A giant parking lot in the rear of the building suggested shoppers drive to the store, rather than walk, which at the time of its construction was not within convenient walking distance for most consumers. 

Bullock's Wilshire was designed as a luxury department store and was exceptionally successful for decades, however as other luxury stores began heading west in the second half of the Twentieth Century, the store began to decline. By the late 80's, Bullock's Wilshire was but a nostalgic relic of its former self.  The 1992 Los Angeles Riots rang in the closing chapter of Bullock's Wilshire as a department store, as looters and arsonists practically destroyed the first floor. The store closed for good in 1993.  

Boarded up and plagued with graffiti, the building was taken over by Southwestern University in 1994, and lovingly restored to its original condition and adaptively reused as the school's law library. 
The Bullock's Wilshire building is seen on the LA Highlights Tour .