Venice's Surreal Structures

Take a walking tour of the funky burg's iconic buildings.

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013  |  Updated 10:21 AM PDT
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Venice's Surreal Structures

Venice

Get to know the buildings of Eclectic Venice on Saturday, April 20. The walking tour will take in several of the city's most innovative '70s and '80s buildings.

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If one peeks at most coffee table books or web sites or magazines devoted to the architecture and design of the seaside house, one might get the impression that any building found close to water is a cozy clapboard structure brimming with shells, decorative wall oars, and ships in glass bottles.

With all due respect, truly, to that delightful aesthetic we say this: Meet Venice.

The burg qualifies as an ocean-close small town and yet clapboard buildings, shell wreaths, and fishy knickknacks are few. What's plentiful? Concrete. Corrugated steel. Skylights positioned at odd angles and spare lofts seemingly made out of found materials. And loads of contemporary paintings and sculptures.

In short, Venetian style is not comfy, nor shell-bedecked, but it is about as future-forward as future-forward gets.

LA Conservancy will celebrate the funky enclave during Eclectic Venice, a walking tour that spotlights the city's '70s- and '80s-era offices and houses. Date? Saturday, April 20.

The Bay Cities Garage, Ed Moses Studio, and Dennis Hopper's house are three of the stopping spots on the map. Discussions will be had about modernism and whimsy and chance-taking and architectural pioneers. "Noted architects" will also panel it up.

Tickets are $35 each.

This isn't to say, of course, that Venice is solely made up of offbeat structures entirely made out of broken tile, glass, and steel. It's a city full of historic Craftsmans, too, and several other types of beautiful buildingery.

In fact, we half think that if we rang Venice up and said "hey Venice, we want to build a building that's entirely underground and constructed out of a material we haven't invented yet" Venice would probably be like "totally, come on over, let's try it!"

Ships in bottles are very nice indeed, but so is a city-specific style that's a bit risky and whimsical all at once.

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