Many of the old and buildings that line Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park have over the years been either demolished or had their historic features and character stripped away or covered up under sheets of plywood, metal screens or plastic signs. But one notable exception has been an 82-year-old Art Deco style building, built originally as an auto showroom and now serving as the newly opened West Coast headquarters for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The original facade, which gently curves along a 130-foot section of Sunset Boulevard near Mohawk Street (yes, that would be the Mohawk Bend), had been virtually left in intact over the decades and Peta had no intention of changing it, said project architect Erick Evens of KAA Design. “We didn’t want to change the nature of it,” said Evens.
While the interior of the approximately 12,000-square-foot building functions as thoroughly modern office building, the exterior is still dominated by the zig-zag, Art Deco lines, columns and other details that are now painted in subtle shades of white and gray – the only bright spot of color is the a sign in “PETA blue.” The new paint and exterior lights highlight the Art Deco design that were once lost in coat of beige paint. A new wall of glass plate windows was install a few inches behind the columns because “we didn’t want to interfere with the existing, historic facade” Evens said.
The building that once was a showcase for autos – a Chevrolet dealer James W. Irvine sold a Sports Roader with rumble seat for $495 in 1930 – will now serve as a “billboard” for PETA and its animal rights advocacy, Evens said. A 4,ooo-square-foot deck (not visible from the street) with a view of downtown is envisioned as a place for Peta gatherings and events while the front windows will feature displays. “Engaging the community is important to them.”
- PETA sets up shop in Echo Park. The Eastsider