The (W)rapper, a new architectural monstrosity in Culver City, Los Angeles

“Anything goes in the land of pop culture”

I don’t know about you, but I find great architecture to be very near the pinnacle of human civilization. A testament to our abilities and ambitions. A way of capturing the ethos of our time in semi-permanent, or permanent, form. 

I tend to cringe at modern and post-modern architecture, though *some* examples are brilliant. I also understand that architecture is fluid, and because of such, acknowledging the past, present, future, and the discombobulated seems to happen regularly. While I might prefer classical and historical design elements, urban planners and urban demands might dictate the need for something else. 

I remember a building I hated in college – the Carpenter Center. It was built by Le Corbusier (Swiss-French architect, lived from 1887–1965), with the collaboration of Chilean architect Guillermo Jullian de la Fuente.The Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, Harvard.

This is the only building designed primarily by Le Corbusier in the United States, and one of only two in the Americas.

The Carpenter Center puzzled me, but at least it was placed amongst the timeless heritage of Cambridge, buffered by history. While it was concrete and imposing, the architect was widely noted for his elements of genius. Despite my disagreement with his aesthetic legacy, Le Corbusier was not vacant of passion. 

Nevertheless, enter LA’s latest creation, the (W)rapper. Styled as such and apparently decades in the making. 

From Dezeen – “American architect Eric Owen Moss has completed the (W)rapper office tower in Los Angeles, which was named for a structural support system that covers the facade. Moss, who leads Eric Owen Moss Architects and has been planning the tower for decades, recently completed the 235-foot (72 metres) structure in Los Angeles.”

My initial reaction: “clearly the building is not finished.” After reality set in I reckoned the building to be a computer generated design. I did not think it was real. Then I remembered reading about the (W)rapper a few years back, and it struck me that this was a real building, built by a real architect and not a dystopian cyborg. Then I shook my head, raised my hands and said out loud, “of course this is in Los Angeles.” 

Perhaps this building is perfect for the area: the pacific coast of the American southwest. An area that borders the desert and extends – economically- to the borderlands of San Diego / Mexico, the desert empire of Arizona and the wasteful exuberance that is Las Vegas. A building that resembles glued together aeronautical scraps, looking out upon an environment depleted of water and ravaged by earthquakes and fires. A building that overlooks the Inglewood Oil Field, a massive dichotomy in the face of California’s environmental messaging. 

There is no doubt that this building fits in perfectly with Los Angeles and Southern California. Unnatural. Consumerism on steroids and methamphetamines. Plastic surgery. Desert. Dry. Barren. Transient populations. Brown hills. Sunshine. Smog. Godless Mecca. Concrete and glass. Colorless. A sterilized mix and mash of in-town grime, suburbia and industrial townships; along the way passing countless I-told-you-so wineries, credit card catfights at emporium de célébrités, and entire neighborhoods of adults preoccupied with ruthless domestic battles over implants. 

Los Angeles is really all about appearances, and keeping up with those who keep up appearances. If San Francisco embraces the counter-culture, Los Angeles embraces the promotion of a neverending tornado vortex of American consumer culture, led by the leading minds of the most famous plastic American mentalities. In this land, hideous design, so long as it attracts attention, is applauded. Publicity is what matters, and no one cares if the publicity is good or bad. 

This building is insane. I spend a lot of time in London, England. Do you know how many strange buildings are in London and Europe? This takes the cake. LA wins. Los Angeles, if you find yourself restless, which you are undoubtedly are, ponder on the various nuisances of the historical vernacular that is Mission Revival. Don’t build buildings like this. 

– Chadwick Hagan, Atlanta May 2023.

See the listing at Loopnet –

Read a bit about “Mission Revival” style –