Richard Meltzer’s Guide to the Ugliest Buildings of Los Angeles
Los Angeles: Illuminati, 1984. Offset. Comb bound. [36 pp]. 7 3/8 x 4 1/2 in. Very good; toning from age, mild wear on cover edges, minor discoloration on cover. Item #6863
The rare spiral bound book compiling the rock critic’s architectural writings.
Though Richard Meltzer is best known as a pioneering rock music critic with bylines in Rolling Stone, Creem, and the Village Voice, he dabbled in architectural criticism in the 1980s. He wrote
a series of columns for the alt-weekly Los Angeles Reader on LA’s architectural atrocities, here compiled in a comb bound pamphlet. Like Reyner Banham’s classic treatise on Los Angeles architecture, Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies, Meltzer’s guide focuses on the strip malls, hamburger stands, carwashes, and dingbat apartment complexes that shape the urban landscape, rather than the city’s better-known landmarks. Unafraid to call an eyesore an eyesore, he jabs at LA’s architectural eclecticism; simultaneously, this pamphlet is a celebration of the city’s signature ugliness, prefiguring the tastes of postmodern architects like Frank Gehry.