Architect John Parkinson died in 1935, and the Los Angeles Times praised him: “Future generations have only to walk through the streets of Los Angeles to be reminded how much John Parkinson in his lifetime contributed to the city that grew up under his hand.”
In Iconic Vision: John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles author Stephen Gee proves that this singular visionary created the look of America’s most dynamic metropolis, long before he world recognized its importance. Consider that among more than four hundred buildings in the City of Angeles that carried his architectural imprimatur, John Parkinson designed Los Angeles’ first Class “A” steel-frame structure, The Homer Laughlin Building (now Grand Central Market) and the city’s first skyscraper, The Braly Block, at Fourth and Spring Streets. He designed the city’s first world-class hotel, The Alexandria, and the headquarters of many of the banks that funded the city’s expansion.
He also created a master plan for the expansion of the University of Southern California, and designed many of the University’s most iconic structures including the Bovard Administration Building. What makes Parkinson’s story even more remarkable is that he was born the son of a mill worker in the industrial northwest of England. He had no training as a structural engineer, and became an architect almost by accident. Iconic Vision: John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles is published by Angel City Press.
About the author: Stephen Gee is a writer and television producer based in Los Angeles. A graduate of City, University of London, he began his career as a newspaper reporter in Norfolk, England. He has lived in Los Angeles since 1995. He is the author of Iconic Vision: John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles (Angel City Press); co-author, with Arnold Schwartzman, of Los Angeles Central Library: A History of its Art and Architecture(Angel City Press), which won the 2016 Glenn Goldman Award for Art, Architecture, and Photography, presented by the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association; and Los Angeles City Hall: An American Icon (Angel City Press).