A man with his own monuments

His name may not be a household word, but just check the list of Los Angeles buildings that architect Welton Becket put up between 1933 and his death in 1969. The Music Center downtown, the Capitol Records building and the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, much of Century City, the Beverly Hilton, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium -- all of these (and hundreds more, from Honolulu to Havana) bear the Becket firm’s name. He collaborated on LAX as well.

In a slightly tardy celebration of the modernist architect’s centennial (he was born in August 1902), the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Modern Committee has put together two events.

First, on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the ArcLight Cinerama Dome, comes a lecture by author and modernism enthusiast Alan Hess; a round-table discussion among former Becket insiders (including Capitol Records building designer Louis Naidorf, a longtime Becket staffer); and four film clips from the Becket firm (which was bought out in 1988 by the Washington, D.C.-based company now known as Ellerbe Becket).

Next, on Saturday, comes a three-site self-guided tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., including the former Bullocks Pasadena (now Macy’s; built in 1946), the Postwar House at Wilshire and Highland (1946) and the Music Center downtown (built 1964-67). A ticket to Tuesday’s event -- $20 for conservancy members, $25 for nonmembers -- is also good for access to Saturday’s venues. Ticket holders get a 60-page illustrated booklet featuring more than 20 Becket buildings. More information: (213) 623-3489 or


-- Christopher Reynolds