Although they may not appear particularly exceptional at first glance, both the building and original photograph are linked to several of the most important figures in 20th century Modernism. The 5-story commercial building at 5657 Wilshire Boulevard was built in 1949 by the Marfay Development Co., and designed by the firm of Walter Wurdeman and Welton Becket, who also moved their firm’s offices into the top floor. Welton Becket & Associates kept its Los Angeles office here through the end of the 1950s, when their space was taken up by William L. Pereira & Associates. Eventually, Pereira’s firm occupied the entire building, where it remained until its founder’s death in 1985. It was likely at that point that the original International Style facade was torn down for its Postmodern replacement.
The original photograph was taken in 1955 by the late Julius Shulman, perhaps the most well-known and influential architectural photographer of the last century. Shulman and Becket were close both professionally and personally; many of Becket’s early works in Southern California were documented extensively in Shulman’s photography.
A vertically aligned comparison can be found here.
1.”Architects’ New Offices Readied.” Los Angeles Times. 22 May. 1949.
2. “Architects plan N.Y. Expansion.” Los Angeles Times. 24 Aug. 1958. F19.
3. “Manager of New Building Named.” Los Angeles Times. 8 Jan. 1961. P10.
Original photo: Shulman, Julius. “Marfay Building, 5657 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 1955 -examiner-m4617.” 1955. Los Angeles Examiner Prints Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/search/EXM-P-S-LOS-ANG-CIT-BUI-179.