Iconic Vision

Gibbs Smith

SKU: 1919

$50.00 USD

Architect John Parkinson died in 1935, and the Los Angeles Times praised him: “Future generations have only to walk through the streets of Los Angeles to be reminded how much John Parkinson in his lifetime contributed to the city that grew up under his hand.” In Iconic Vision: John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles, author Stephen Gee proves that this singular visionary created the look of America’s most dynamic metropolis, long before the world recognized the city’s importance. Consider that among more than four hundred buildings in the City of Angels that carried his architectural imprimatur, John Parkinson designed:

  • Los Angeles City Hall, the most iconic building in California, the tower that changed a futuristic city’s skyline forever;
  • Bullock’s Wilshire, the towering structure that rivals the Chrysler Building as America’s premier Art Deco edifice;
  • Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the world’s only modern stadium to host two Olympic Games, 1932 and 1984—and still home to the USC Trojans;
  • Los Angeles Union Station, the Mission-Moderne-Art Deco masterpiece that brought together California’s railroads and became a legend before the first trains roared in.

Los Angeles was a small town plunked amid wide-open spaces when John Parkinson arrived in 1894. Before the century turned, he was already shaping the identity of the fledgling town through architectural innovation. Like the importance of the city he loved, Parkinson’s impact shot skyward: he conceived the first skyscraper in Los Angeles and introduced its first steel-frame structures.

And yet, does anyone really know his name? No libraries hold books devoted to his work. No classes are devoted to his designs in architecture schools. It is almost impossible to believe, but no author has significantly presented a study of John Parkinson. Until now.

Stephen Gee is a senior producer for ITV Studios, based in Los Angeles. He has worked on numerous award-winning television productions and has directed and produced live coverage of high-profile news stories, including four U.S. presidential elections, important court cases, Hollywood events, as well as disasters—including the 9/11 tragedy. Experienced in various important aspects of television production, Gee was the lead cameraman and producer for a series of documentaries for National Geographic. A graduate of London’s City University, Gee began his career as a newspaper reporter in Norfolk, England. He has lived in Los Angeles since 1995. Iconic Vision is his first book.