650 Duarte

David Jacobson, Jr. & James C. Coppedge • 1958 • Arcadia, CA

Sigma fp L • Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8
301 words • 9 images
Looking northeast

On the south side of Duarte Ave. in Arcadia, just east of Baldwin Ave., there’s a stretch of four corporate midcentury mid-rise moderns, each with a different take on how to block the summer sun. I’m hoping to photograph all four, but this time it’s the most straightforward of them all: a four-story, totally square office building built in 1958.

How does it break the sun? While the northern and southern elevations are fully glazed, the eastern and western elevations are completely opaque — “self-shading” articulated brick bond walls suspended from the concrete-and-steel frame. “Self-shading” here means the header bricks project from the stretchers and (the thinking went) allow the sun’s heat to dissapate more quickly than it would from a completely flush brick wall. Unclear if this is true at all, but it’s a fascinating, pseudo-decorative look, especially when you see the zig-zag of bricks up close where they end just above the first floor of office suites.

Isn’t it lovely?

Looking north

The architects were David Jacobson, Jr. and James C. Coppedge, two fairly unknown Arcadia-based architects, briefly a partnership in the late 1950s. Jacobson — an MIT grad and former classmate of I. M. Pei’s — went on to some minor notoriety as a 70s and 80s casino design specialist in Reno, Atlantic City, and finally Los Vegas. Coppedge — an Oklahoma State University grad — went on to notoriety as a key player in an anti-bribery sting operation in Long Beach.

Looking southwest

The self-shading brickwork is a theme of midcentury Arcadia, visible in a less dramatic form at Bowling Square, covered here previously.

Looking southeast

Not much else to say here, other than that it’s a fun building. I first noticed it while eating Korean food in a strip of restaurants on Baldwin.

Northern elevation

More to come in the future regarding its sun-breaking neighbors.

Northern elevation at an angle
Northern elevation detail
Southern elevation detail

Originally posted: 2024-05-13