David Jacobson, Jr.

650 Duarte

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?