From the publicity with which it opened the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913 to the completion of its new headquarters on Bunker Hill in 1965, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) has employed architecture as advertising for image enhancement and to increase its sale of electricity and water. This study of selected DWP structures, 1924–1965, finds that the message of architectural boosterism can become obsolete before the buildings do. DWP’s architecture presents a complicated legacy and a challenge for the future.
“The Romance of Water and Power ”: Architecture as Advertisement
Stuart W. Leslie teaches the history of science and technology at The Johns Hopkins University. His publications include The Cold War and American Science and Boss Kettering: The Wizard of General Motors and a number of articles on laboratory design and architecture, most recently “Pakistan's Nuclear Taj Mahal” in Physics Today. His writing on Southern California include “Aerospaces: Southern California Architecture in a Cold War World” in History and Technology and “Griffith Observatory: Hollywood's Celestial Theater” in Early Popular Visual Culture.
Stuart W. Leslie; “The Romance of Water and Power ”: Architecture as Advertisement. Southern California Quarterly 1 August 2017; 99 (3): 290–328. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/scq.2017.99.3.290
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