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Climate and Environment

LAistory: The Pan Pacific Auditorium

The Pan Pacific Auditorium in 1937 (Photo via the Los Angeles Public Library)
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Imagine a structure hailed for its exterior design that took 60 days to build, was trafficked by hundreds of thousands of people for almost four decades, spent 17 years abandoned with an uncertain fate, contributed to the launch of LA's preservation movement, and took one night to burn to the ground.

One structure that once stood in Los Angeles fits precisely that bill: The Pan Pacific Auditorium.

The Pan Pacific Auditorium was a masterpiece of a branch of architecture known as Streamline Moderne done by the prominent firm of Wurdeman and Becket. The green-and-white building was west-facing, and had four towers reaching skyward that resembled aircraft fins. Behind the glorious facade, however, was a more modest wooden structure that was more of a sprawling gymnasium; there was little remarkable about the design of the interior that was 100,000 square feet and could seat up to 6,000 patrons. The fact that it was wooden (read: highly flammable) is what eventually made its fiery demise possible.