John Chase's West Hollywood timetable
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LocationImage for KeithAddressArchitect/Developer/CityContact informationBlurb for mapWho should talk on tourTime of arrivalTime of departureTravel time (minutes)Distance (miles)Tour notes
West Hollywood Gateway7100 Santa Monica BlvdJerde Partnership323.848.6418 awinderman@weho.orgJohn was very influential in the West Hollywood Gateway project designed by The Jerde Partnership. This was an important project for West Hollywood due to its ability to bring the first big box retailers, Target and Best Buy, to the city.Allyne Winderman CONFIRMED10:00:0010:10:003.50.15This made all the difference in the neighborhood.
Kol Ami Congregation1200 N. La Brea AvenueJosh SchweitzerThe Temple Kol Ami was a radical structure for its time when it was built in 2001, reflecting a progressive organization: Kol-Ami is the first predominantly gay and lesbian synagogue in the country to construct its own building. It was designed by Josh Schweitzer, who also designed restaurants like Border Grill. The cutouts visible from La Brea spell out words like 'peace' and 'justice.'Brief history by Alissa10:15:0010:20:0030.2Just outside are several traffic circles, did John have anything to do with those?
Formosa 1140 (*) Formosa AvenueLorcan OHerlihy Architects (LOHA), Richard Loring, Katherine SpitzLorcan O'Herlihy <>, Katherine Spitz <>, Richard Loring <>John shepherded this unique condo project designed by Lorcan O’Herlihy and developed by Richard Loring. The structure takes the traditional private courtyard space found inside most L.A. apartments and moves it to the outside of the building, creating a community pocket park designed by Katherine Spitz. At the city council meeting where the project was presented, John wore a red seersucker suit to show his tacit approval for the bright red and orange structure.Lorcan OHerlihy CONFIRMED, Richard Loring CONFIRMED, Katherine Spitz CONFIRMED, Frances Anderton CONFIRMED10:25:0010:45:0030.2Dressed in a red seersucker suit to silently show his approval at the city council meeting. Very modern design for the street, but wanted to add excitement and color.
Food + Lab7253 Santa Monica BlvdJohn loved Food + Lab and that small places could be so interesting. This local business started as a mother and son catering company which eventually moved into its own space here and in Silver Lake. Fantastic Austrian-inspired sandwiches like Austrian meatloaf are made from local ingredients.10:50:0010:55:0020.1
Poinsettia House (*)I need to go take a better photo1155 Poinsettia DriveJohn Chase, Katherine SpitzKatherine Spitz <>This West Hollywood house that John lived in features some of his "exterior decoration" that he added to the outside of the house, as well as a garden designed by Katherine Spitz. John wanted the front yard to feel like an extension of the living room, with colorful plexiglas accents that would draw the eyes of people walking by. The hedges were added later. Excerpt: Frances' Exterior DecorationKatherine Spitz CONFIRMED and Frances to read from Exterior Decoration CONFIRMED11:00:0011:15:0030.2Sculpture garden was important to make it an extension of the living room. The fence was exactly to code when it came to height, permeability and materials.
Crown Bar7321 Santa Monica BlvdThe Crown Bar went through many incantations throughout the years but during its last renovation, it retained its historic fabric thanks to John. This bar and restaurant now evokes its 1940's era roots with cocktails like Gettin' Lucky and the Top Hat.Alissa gives brief history/Jennifer to read John's WeHo history from Exterior Decoration11:20:0011:25:0030.2
Plummer Park Community Center (*) Santa Monica Blvd (meet on sidewalk at entrance to park, then will walk in to community center)Koning EizenbergHank Koning <>Plummer Park has become one of the most beloved and best-used public spaces in the city. At its center is a smart, sustainable community center designed by Koning Eizenberg which John was instrumental in bringing to the park. He called the space, which offers classes and rooms for meetings, West Hollywood's "living room."Brian Lane, Koning Eizenberg, CONFIRMED11:30:0011:45:0030.2Video:
Salt's Cure7497 Santa Monica BlvdAndy 310.963.5152John worked on many small projects like Salt's Cure, designed by Andy Liu and was anxiously awaiting the opening before his death. The tiny cafe seats only 25 and serves innovative charcuterie dishes, including a fantastic brunch.Andy Liu CONFIRMED11:50:0012:00:0020.1
Sierra Bonita Affordable Housing (*) Santa Monica BlvdPatrick TighePatrick Tighe <>As one of many projects by the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation, John was instrumental in bringing affordable, mixed-use housing to the residents of West Hollywood. This project designed by Patrick Tighe houses people with special needs and features an electric solar panel system that provides most of the building's energy during the day.Allyne Winderman or Ric Abramson CONFIRMED12:05:0012:15:0010.05Blended urbanism and mixed use, widened the sidewalk and created new guidelines, solar panels, a place to test ideas about sustainability and density
Dingbats & Exterior Decoration (*) Sierra Bonita Ave (p. 16 of "Glttter Stucco and Dumpster Diving")As evoked in his book "Glitter Stucco and Dumpster Diving," John had a special place in his heart for dingbats, the ubiquitous apartment buildings that cover the city. This building is featured on page 16 of that book.
Christopher Hawthorne to read Stucco Box CONFIRMED12:16:0012:30:0040.3the way he looked at the architecture and the street, from the early, shining days of dingbats to later when they weren't as glamorous. "easter eggs"
Bar Lubitsch7702 Santa Monica BlvdAs a nod to the Russian residents that still make up much of West Hollywood's population, this new bar appears to seamlessly blend into the Russian storefronts on the block. John loved this bar and how it blended old and new architecture and cultures. They, of course, serve lots of incredible vodka cocktails, with over 200 vodkas to choose from.Alissa gives brief history12:35:0012:40:0050.2
Whole Foods (NO ILLUSTRATION)7871 Santa Monica BlvdWe'll grab lunch here at 12:45 and walk to the triangle parks at the corner of Crescent Heights and Santa Monica Blvd. to eat it.12:45:00Buy lunch and walk three blocks west to the Crescent Heights triangle parks.20.1
French Quarter Market Place7985 Santa Monica BlvdJohn loved to go to this local institution for lunch. The French Quarter Market Place actually predates the city of West Hollywood, as it was opened by the Simms family in 1974, ten years before the city was incorporated in 1984. The Bourbon Street-inspired menu features bistro cuisine and delicious French onion soup.No stop: Wave to one of John's favorite places to eat in WeHo. 50.2
Crescent Heights Triangle ParksCorner of Crescent Heights and Santa Monica BlvdEat lunch here.1:00:001:45:0020.1
1051 Laurel Avenue (*) Laurel AvenuePalisades DevelopmentPalisades Development, Matt Fisher mfisher@palisadesdevgroup.comJohn loved this new building developed by Palisades Development group. The building hopes to reinvent the traditional courtyard of apartment buildings and examines the definition of compatibility when looking at its relationship to the other, older buildings on the block. It doesn't try hard to blend in, rather it becomes a landmark of contemporary architecture on the street. John liked the fact that it dared to be different.Everyday Urbanism reading by Margaret Crawford CONFIRMED1:45:001:55:0090.4This building took the typical courtyard concept of WeHo's past and make it into a contemporary work of architecture. Even though the building made no effort to blend into the block of existing homes, John liked that it dared to be different.
Harper West Hollywood1250 N. Harper AvenueRic Abramsonric@workplays.comHere, a new development wraps around one of the oldest structures in West Hollywood, the Ramona, yet sacrifices nothing in its efforts to preserve it. John was instrumental in helping to bring together disparate interests of the developer, City of West Hollywood, neighbors and preservations to craft a reasoned solution, creating new, green, affordable housing stock for the neighborhood yet retaining the open space and historic nature of the street.Ric Abramson EMAILED2:05:002:10:0020 (via William H Hart Park)1The way it wraps around the Ramona is notable, since it sacrificed nothing in the site plan.
8410 Sunset Blvd (*) Sunset BlvdJoe Shooshani Joe Shooshani 213-748-171John loved working with the property owner of 8410 Sunset, Joe Shooshani, who was always coming up with great new plans for signage and lighting that tested the city's regulations. After his death, Shooshani memorialized John with an image and tribute to him on his Jumbotron. During the first walking tour, John's image once again appeared on the Jumbotron.Joe Shooshani CONFIRMED2:30:00View from Andaz00
Andaz Hotel8401 Sunset BlvdArt consultant Merry NorrisMerry Norris <>This former "Riot Hyatt" where rock stars famously tossed TVs off the balcony was reinvented as the classy Andaz chain. In 2010 it won the John Chase Memorial Design Award for Best Design from the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in 2010. Merry Norris, a good friend of John's, serves as the public art consultant, and worked closely with John on many of the projects.Merry Norris CONFIRMEDMerry and Joe talk at the same time2:40:0060.3
Mel's Drive In (*) SunsetWhen the 1962 diner switched ownership from Ben Frank's to the chain Mel's Drive-In, the owner expressed the desire to make serious structural changes. John's personal charisma, deep knowledge of the value of preserving modern architecture, and his tenacious willingness to engage owners in discussion (even if they thought they weren’t interested), helped to save this building. Inside, there is a plaque, installed by the owner John helped to convince, saying that the Googie building was preserved because of John's efforts.Jennifer talks outside 2:45:00talk about Millennium at the same time00
Sunset Millennium Project Site (ghost rendering)8570 Sunset BlvdSiffin Associates/Cushman WakefieldThis was the single largest project proposed on the Sunset Strip in living memory. The developer’s first design submission prompted the infamous line by John: “We are haunted by the specter of the Cruella de Vil inspired mansard roof.” The developer was none too pleased with that description and made it known, but in the end, the project was redesigned as something John could approve of. No stop but Jennifer will have elevation drawings and the quote on a sheet with map.view from Mel's2:55:000.63
Former Tower Records Site8801 SunsetJohn thought the giant letters screaming TOWER RECORDS was a case of signage going horribly wrong. He was no doubt relieved when the chain went out of business in 2006, closing all its storesDoes someone have photos of old signage?3:00:003:02:0020.1
Palm View Apartments (*)Uploaded this image980 Palm AvenueWade Killefer of Killefer Flammang Architectskillefer@kfarchitects.comWhere historic preservation, architecture and social housing meet. One of John’s first Weho projects, he helped the planning staff understand how and what could be done to preserve the bungalows while still allowing for 40 new units for people living with HIV/AIDS. In order to save the two 1915 Craftsman bungalows on this site, they were actually dismantled piece by piece, cataloged and moved to storage while the rest of the buildings were being constructed. Wade Killefer CONFIRMED, Jennifer talks about project3:05:003:15:0060.3Over the time that the building was designed and then built, the face of AIDS changed. Instead of being a place that people went to die, it became a place where people would live full lives, even with the disease. Lots of discussion about why WeHo residents like to block projects.
Hancock Lofts901 Hancock Avenue (meet at entrance on Hancock beyond parking garage)Koning EizenbergHank Koning <>John helped this loft project, designed by Koning Eizenberg, to become one of the best-looking and unique mixed-used projects in the city. Note the wooden sliding shades on each balcony. He also enjoyed going to the restaurant Tender Greens on the first floor.Julie Eizenberg CONFIRMED3:20:003:30:0060.3
Koo Koo Roo (*) Santa Monica BlvdJohn loved creative signage and encouraged people to make fun signs such as the spinning chicken head at Koo Koo Roo. But he also thought that outdoor restaurants could work harder to provide tiny public plazas and outdoor amenities for everyone. Excerpt: "The Giant Revolving (Winking) Chicken Head and the Doggie Drinking Fountain: Making Distinctive Public Spaces and Private Land By Using Commonplace Objects."John Keho - Reading from Would You Like Fries With that Xerox? CONFIRMED John Kaliski will read from John's essay "The Giant Revolving (Winking) Chicken Head and the Doggie Drinking Fountain: Making Distinctive Public Spaces and Private Land By Using Commonplace Objects" CONFIRMED3:35:003:45:0030.1And eat there all the time.
Santa Monica Blvd Improvements and West Hollywood Urban Design (*) of Santa Monica and La CienegaPat Smith323.665.1940 patlsmith@pacbell.netJohn was very involved in the look of West Hollywood's streets. With landscape designer Patricia Smith, he was instrumental in the three-mile revamp of Santa Monica Blvd. that included widening the sidewalks, adding bike lanes and planting a double-tree row of Chinese Elms. John loved plants and knew the names of all the trees and shrubs that were used in West Hollywood.Pat Smith CONFIRMED3:50:004:00:00100.5Wider streets and sidewalks with double rows of trees. John was very familiar with plants and knew the names of most everything that was used in WeHo.
Habitat 825 (*) N. Kings RoadLorcan O'Herlihy Architects (LOHA), Richard LoringLorcan O'Herlihy <>, Richard Loring <>In one of the most dramatic planning stories in West Hollywood's history, a new condo project was proposed next door to the 1922 Schindler House. John championed Lorcan O'Herlihy's innovative design for the development developed by Richard Loring in the face of vicious opposition from the neighboring MAK Center, but he also worked closely with a Kings Road preservation group, who wanted to preserve the street's existing personality. In the end, he was a peacemaking force, uniting all groups towards an appropriate solution.Lorcan OHerlihy CONFIRMED, Richard Loring CONFIRMED4:10:00talk about MAK at same time00Bruce Kaye was part of the Kings Road Preservation group which wanted all architectural development on the street to be appropriate. John served as peacemaker on the project and helped unite all the voices.
Mak Center/Schindler House835 N. Kings RoadMAK CenterBruce Kaye (310-741-1411) ( of the most famous houses in Los Angeles is this double-family home designed by Rudolf Schindler in 1922. It's widely considered to be the first Modern residence, and John made sure through preservation and planning that the Schindler House remained a jewel of West Hollywood's architecture.Bruce Kaye CONFIRMEDnext door4:30:0070.4
Irv's Burgers8289 Santa Monica BlvdIn 2005 it was rumored that this restaurant, one of the last diners still in operation along Route 66, would be torn down. After a long and vocal campaign, the stand was named a local cultural landmark. John was annoyed that this place received historic designation.Alissa gives brief history4:35:004:40:0000
West Hollywood City Hall8300 Santa Monica BlvdHere's where John worked as an urban designer for 14 years, navigating various political and planning debates using his passion, charm and wit. But it's also where John expressed frustration since his role became more bureaucratic and not as directly involved in designing. Excerpt: "Would You Like Fries with that Xerox?"John Keho/reading from Would you like Fries with that Xerox? CONFIRMEDright across the street5:00:0040.2At City Hall he was also very frustrated because he wasn't designing things.
Sal Guarriello Veterans' Memorial (*) of Santa Monica and HollowayCampbell & Campbell Architectsdoug@campbellcampbell.comJohn was on the committee for the Holloway Park Veterans’ Memorial designed by Campbell & Campbell Architects as a peaceful public space at a busy intersection. It was renamed for former city councilman and mayor Sal Guarriello in 2009 and a fountain was dedicated in 2011.Alissa reads piece sent by Campbell Architects5:05:005:10:0000
Barney's Beanery8447 Santa Monica BlvdJust like Bukowski, Ruscha and Bengston, Barney’s was one of John’s favorite lunch hangouts. He and his West Hollywood colleagues spent many a lunch here discussing the future of WeHo projects, gossiping, and otherwise trying to get ketchup stains off of white shirts and colored ties. The site is infamous for an anti-gay sign but when West Hollywood incorporated in 1984, the sign was never again displayed. End of walk drinks. One last reading by Jennifer Daviswalk across streetarrive at 5:10/drinks & food
Pacific Design CenterCorner of San Vicente and MelroseCesar PelliOne of the largest projects in West Hollywood history features three colorful buildings that house the hub of the design and decorating community in Los Angeles.The plaza at the center of the complex of buildings designed by Cesar Pelli was a favorite of John's, especially how it was re-worked to be open to the street. The new Red Building was completed in 2012.
Beverly and Robertson Corners (*)I need to get you photos of this intersectionBeverly and RobertsonAll the corners of the buildings here are clipped thanks to John, which creates a subtle yet dramatic effect. When Armani moved in, John made sure that their new store design preserved this lovely detail that makes all the difference. incremental difference