Complex Love: The "Griffin" and Copa West

Complex Love: The "Griffin" and Copa West

Gregory Han
Jul 21, 2007

For this week's edition of Complex Love we return back to the Valley for two neighboring architectural time capsules whose front facades warranted a lunchtime visit. First is a 56-unit apartment complex built in 1962, with a towering and beautiful painted glazed brick relief panel. The apartment's entry is a majestic sight, guarded by an overhead brick relief of an armoured griffin done in ancient Babylonian style. Unfortunately I couldn't get in for photos of the lobby nor to the interior courtyard, but I hope to make it inside during a future visit.

Complex Love is a photographic celebration of Southern California's unique apartment architecture history. Live in or nearby an apartment complex of notable or unusual design? Please submit photos and information to gregory (at) apartmenttherapy (dot) com.

Just a hop, skip and a jump down the street is this example of midcentury living, with sparkling tile work, geometric details, a classic kidney bean pool in the courtyard, and a sign that must have once evoked images of stylish living. The Copa West was built just one year after its Babylonian styled neighbor in 1963, but now suffers from noticeable neglect (the lobby is mysteriously decorated with a horrendously out of place duck painting trim), but even now the 49 unit apartment still has a few architectural details that hint of its finer days. With rent ranging from $490-$690 these days, this is officially lower income housing in Los Angeles, but once housed a primarily middle class demographic that worked at the nearby Van Nuys airport and surrounding aerospace industry. There must have been some fun pool parties and BBQ back then; a few corners of the courtyard retain the original tropical oasis landscaping, hinting at once was. The pool still looks inviting after all these years.

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