Sunday, January 09, 2011

Bike Ride Venice and Ballona Creek

I've been wanting to check out the Ballona Creek bike trail, but it's just a little further than I've wanted to ride in the morning.  But today my son agreed to meet me at Venice and we'd do it.  Below are some pictures from the ride.  Summary:  Ballona Creek trail good because it goes a long ways without stops.  Bad because it doesn't go where many people probably want to go and it's pretty much a concrete basin for the LA river to drain into the ocean.  It feels like the trail has been begrudgingly added so "shut up and stop complaining."

Still deep in Venice, here's a mural by R. Cronk on one of the streets ending at the boardwalk.

It turns out the Kush doctor wasn't closed down, it just moved down the boardwalk.  It's a couple shops to the right of this marijuana evaluation center.  Near the skate plaza.

Art with a sense of humor.  These pirates protect an apartment (?) building overlooking the Marina.

Some of the original inhabitants in a small patch of the remaining wetland/grassland that was turned into Marina del Rey.  I don't think they were compensated or given new homes when their space was turned into condos and boat harbors back in the 6os and 70s.

Eventually we got to the turn off from the bike trail in the Marina to the Ballona Creek trail.  There were rock sculptures for about 1/4 of a mile. 

I thought these were surf scoters when I saw them, but now I'm not so sure.  They look a lot like the surf scoters I saw in Juneau, but they have white beaks and not white on their foreheads. [Naomi - comments below - thinks they are coots.]

Eventually, we got to the end of the trail.  I knew we'd passed Baldwin Hills, but I wasn't sure where we were.

LA's new light rail construction was there.  It turned out we were at Jefferson and National.

At this point biking was less pleasant, but J got out his android and figured going back on Venice would be more direct.

Not sure what this is, but we passed it as we rode along National to Venice.  We're still south of Washington here.

UPDATE 7:36pm:  Thanks to Naomi and Pam (MPB) I now know this is by architect Eric Owen Moss:

Samitaur Tower
 Culver City, California

The Samitaur Tower is an information tower, constructed at the corner of Hayden Avenue and National Boulevard immediately across from the new Expo light rail line arriving from downtown Los Angeles in June, 2011. That intersection is the primary entry point into the re-developed zone of Culver City.

Conceptually, the tower has both introverted and extroverted planning objectives. Internal to the burgeoning site area of new media companies, graphic designers, and general office tenants, the tower will symbolize the advent of this important new urban development, provide a changing art display for local viewing, and offer a variety of graphic content and data on its five screens concerning coming events and current achievements of the tenants who occupy that part of the city.
Anon also provided a link to the Dec. 20, 2010 New Yorker article on Moss and his work in Culver City.  MPB also posted the abstract of the New Yorker article in the comments.  Thanks both of you. 

On  Venice we stopped at Emerald Royal Thai Restaurant for a noodle lunch.  It was good.

We passed the Museum of Jurassic Technology before we took our separate ways home.  I've been here before.  It's one of LA's most quirky little museums, with a bizarre collection of items.   Well worth it for those who like the out of the ordinary (in the bizarre sense.)  But we'd had a good ride already and didn't stop. 

And before long I was home.


  1. I always like your photos of Calif because they look like the places I saw when a kid in Santa monica.

    Anyway, that odd-looking building is a famous architect's building as is the one behind and to the side-- that whole area. I can't remember where I saw the write-up in the past month. it's an old industrial area he bought up. it may be worth your going back to look around.


  2. Thanks for the pics...they bring back wonderful memories.

  3. I enjoy following your blog. I am pretty certain the birds you saw are coots. We have a lot of them right now, here in Oakland at Lake Merritt. Here's the link to the architect's site, and to the recent New Yorker article on the Culver City projects by Eric Owen Moss:

  4. That's the Hayden Tract

    "ABSTRACT: THE SKY LINE about Eric Owen Moss and Culver City. Eric Owen Moss, who is sixty-seven and has been practicing in Los Angeles since 1973, is certainly eminent—he writes books, gives lectures all over the world, and enters major competitions— but nearly all of his buildings are concentrated in a few blocks at the eastern edge of Culver City, California, in a drab, industrial neighborhood a few miles from the L.A. airport. Moss has been working in this part of the city, known as the Hayden tract, since the late nineteen-eighties, and what his oeuvre lacks in geographic reach, it makes up for in local impact. Slowly, one building at a time, he has managed to create a genuine urban transformation through architecture. Often, Moss has taken the old warehouses and factories along the tract and repurposed them, warping them into strange new shapes to arrive at arresting structures of weathered steel, concrete, and glass. There is a wound-up tension to Moss’s buildings, as if their pieces might suddenly fly apart in all directions at the push of an unseen button. “The Umbrella” has a huge corner canopy of twisted glass and steel that looks as if it had crashed into the building and broken apart. It faces a pair of buildings with glass walls slanting sharply in opposite directions. Moss calls them “Slash” and “Backslash.” Moss began his career in L.A. in the nineteen-seventies, and he was highly influenced by Frank Gehry. For years, he was something of the bad boy of L.A. architecture. Then he found a pair of patrons: Frederick and Laurie Samitaur-Smith, a married couple who are the real-estate developers behind all of the Hayden tract projects. The most conspicuous structure in this district is a newly finished observation tower seventy-two feet high. The tower overlooks the route of an unfinished light-rail line, the Exposition Line, the first portion of which will open next year. Moss, who in addition to his practice heads the Southern California Institute of Architecture, is interested in urbanism, but his fundamental passion is for determining what buildings can show us about the nature of spacer, and the feelings that abstract form can engender."


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