December 5, 2012 Mid-Century Modern

Modern Snapshot: Going Googie in LA


With my copy of Googie Redux: Ultramodern Roadside Architecture by Alan Hess, I hit the streets of Los Angeles during Thanksgiving week to check out a few of the remaining sites that dot the city. The term “Googie architecture” was coined by editor Douglas Haskell  after seeing the 1949 Googie’s restaurant designed by John Lautner. With Googie’s having been demolished years ago, my first stop after landing was Pann’s for lunch. (Architecture and food; my two favorite things.) Pann’s was designed by Armet and Davis in 1958. The place is well preserved if not a bit dingy. I rather have it a run down than demolished like so many other Googie coffee shops and other buildings.

Pann's sign


Pann’s at 6710 La Tijera at La Cienga and Centinela. Love the Googie numerals.




The preserved interior at Pann’s.


I thought I might run into Don in the bathroom.

Vintage tile in the men’s room.

After lunch, I needed some coffee so we headed to the former Ship’s Coffee Shop by Martin Stern Jr. in Culver City. It is now a Starbucks and Subway. You can still see remnants of the exterior ranch-style design and the Starbucks does a nice vintage nod with the George Nelson lamps. Hess says this first in the chain reflects the neighboring ranch houses. The original soaring Googie sign that jutted through the opening in the roof has been torn down.


The former Ship’s in Culver City by Martin Stern Jr.

Ship's Coffee Shop


George Nelson lamps pay homage to the styling of the former Ship’s Coffee Shop.

Ship's exterior

Vintage tile and Flagcrete, a branded artificial stone, on the former Ship’s exterior.

We did not burn any calories here at Bay Shore Lanes in Santa Monica. Just took pictures.

Bay Shore Lanes

Here’s the vacant Johnie’s. Originally Romeo’s Times Square, the 1955 Googie coffee shop was also designed by Armet and Davis.



On the way back to the airport I took this shot of  NORMS on La Cienga. This 1957 outpost was designed by Armet and Davis and is the oldest NORMS in operation today.


The oldest operating NORMS. On La Cienga near Melrose.

Hess says this In-N-Out Burger in Westwood carries on the Googie architectural tradition. I like the vintage architecture better but the Double Double Animal Style sure was good.

In-N-Out Burger, Westwood

This In-N-Out Burger in Westwood was designed by Kanner Architects in 1997.