Luther Burbank Middle School

Mal Gianni & Associates • 1975 • Highland Park, California

Sigma fp L • Canon FD 35mm f/2.8 TS
160 words • 7 images
Looking southward along the western elevation

Absolutely love the colors at Luther Burbank Middle School in Highland Park. Judging from historical Google street views, the building was repainted from a drab brown (or raw brick?) sometime during the pandemic.

The building seems to date to 1975, and was designed by Mal Gianni & Associates, a firm specializing in school construction. The New Formalist vocabulary is interesting, though so much more interesting in the bright colors it sports today, particularly on the tiny columns holding up the small arcades.

Looking northward along the western elevation. I really love how the painted bricks look here in the sun, all slightly askew but of the uniform hue.

An article from 1974 shows a model (very close to the built design) in black and white and notes that the finished building will have “a red brick facade, similar to the present building.”

A lovely bit of vintage signage, so nicely justified; nice that they’ve kept this up even though it’s a “Middle School” now and not a “Junior High”

Apparently the building was the source of some controversy, as it replaced a venerated old Mayan-Revival school in the exact same location. It might’ve been saved, but it was the 1970s and the old structure was deemed unsafe in the event of an earthquake.

Another view northward along the western elevation
Stepping back for a longer view southward along the western elevation
Stepping back for a view of the northwest corner
Looking west along the northern elevation

Originally posted: 2024-04-09