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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Smitten, Not Smote

With my little camera, I couldn't get the angle I wanted on this building without standing in the street, so we're going to have to miss out on a bit of the lower part. If it was a quiet, out-of-the-way street I'd stand in the middle, sure. But it's Altadena Drive, just north of Colorado Blvd., and not everyone who drives along there is paying attention.

For at least a year, I drove by this building over and over again without noticing it. Now that I know it's there it plagues me. (See? There's one non-attention-paying driver right there.) The building looks abandoned, and it's so beautiful.

I messed with the contrast and sharpening so you can read the lettering at the top: "MUNICIPAL LIGHT AND POWER." I'm sure the place is owned by Pasadena Water and Power; behind it is a full block of electrical grid. But the building itself looks empty.

It's not a complete mystery, thanks to the Building Biographer, Tim Gregory (and thanks to Google). The building was designed by architect Robert H. Ainsworth.

I'd go peek in the windows but there's an iron fence around the lot. It wouldn't stop some people but I was brought up to be scared of breaking the rules, which is another reason I don't stand in the middle of busy streets.

12 comments:

Laurie said...

This is so gorgeous. Ooooh.... I want you to go peek in those windows. (It's for your art, after all.)

:-)

Cafe Pasadena said...

LA, it's not dark or late enuf for you to go peeking N2 any windows yet.

You were brought up to be scared to break any rules, P?? Why does that make me wanna laugh like a dog?! Nice shot but, yeah, you still need a ide-angle, or a stand in the middle of the streeter.

Katie said...

What a fabulous building! I really love the detailed arches. Now you're going to have us all curious what's up with this building, and what it looks like inside. I'm with you though - not into breaking laws to get the scoop.

Jean Spitzer said...

Building biographer? I just googled; how interesting. What a beautiful municipal building.

altadenahiker said...

I've always been curious about this place. More, more.

Chuck Pefley said...

Lovely lines to the structure. To solve the middle of the street situation how about shooting from the other side of the street with a bit longer lens? Perhaps even include some of the non-attention paying drivers whizzing past with a slow-shutter-speed blur?

Petrea said...

I just got an email from Roberta Martinez at Latino Heritage on Raymond Avenue. She said, "The building isn't open due to retrofit issues. While some of us were focused on Cultural Nexus, incorporating a formalized plan for the Arts in the City's general plan, we looked into the potential use of the building. I thought it would make a great mini-cultural center."

I told her I thought so, too. Perhaps with current budget concerns it's not possible to do anything, but I'm glad the building isn't forgotten.

Oh, Chuck. Longer lens, yes, maybe for Christmas...

Margaret said...

I like this one. Why is that arches make building look so cool?

Ms M said...

Marvelous old building. I hope they do a good job with it and it's open again.

Petrea said...

Margaret, I think it's because arches are ancient. They speak to our cultural memory.

I heard from Ms. Martinez again, just to clarify: she said "The plan was put together in 2004-2005, so I think the economy was not the limiting force. I could just imagine some...gallery at the site. Even something as modest as Ave 50 in Highland Park. Not the Norton Simon - not trying to be - but a place where all things cultural can be enjoyed."

Cafe Pasadena said...

Thanks 4 de insight, P. Whenever I pass by the Golden Arches I'll think what u said.

USelaine said...

This is a great shot too. The lines in the doors are interesting.