They didn't have to do this. They didn't have to put that shield, or whatever it is, on the side of the building. It's in an alley, for heaven's sake. Nobody sees it. But they did it anyway, so it's a superfluous detail, and that's why I love it.
This one's on the Pasadena Playhouse building, the south side, looking out over Playhouse Alley. Those scallops on the lower part are shadow from the building next door. Click on the picture to enlarge it so you can see the little lion heads on the soffits. (The soffits are above El Molino Avenue. Just look up!)
All these lovely details were designed for the Playhouse by Pasadena architect Elmer Grey. The 1924 structure has an illustrious history. It has always been a great theatre. May it always remain so.