John Parkinson’s buildings have provided memorable backdrops for Hollywood blockbusters, played center stage for two Olympic Games, and welcomed presidents and royalty. His incredible body of work in Los Angeles includes:
City Hall, the most iconic building in California, was famously “destroyed” in the 1953 film War of the Worlds.
Union Station, America’s last great train station, featured in Blade Runner and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
The Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932, 1984 and 2028 Olympic Games, as well as sold-out music concerts by the likes of the Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, and Pink Floyd.
Bullock’s Wilshire, an Art Deco masterpiece, was the backdrop for Warren Beatty’s Bugsy and Aerosmith’s Love in an Elevator music video.
Parkinson helped define Los Angeles as a city that embraced the future. He designed the first steel frame structure the Homer Laughlin Building (now better known as the Grand Central Market); the first skyscraper, the Braly Block; the first world-class hotel, the Hotel Alexandria as well as many iconic buildings on the University of Southern California campus.
And yet he had no formal training as an architect. He was the son of a mill worker from the industrial northwest who first arrived in the United States with $5 and a tool box looking for adventure.