Friday, October 15, 2010

NOT just another brick in the wall...

The South Pasadena Unified School District Administration building has so many gorgeous details, like these whimsical multicolored bricks and stunning art nouveau decorative panels. The 1928 structure was built by the architectural firm of Marsh, Smith and Powell, the creative force behind the design of South Pasadena's original Public Library building as well as the Middle School. Once known as El Centro Elementary school, the building was converted to the administration HQ in 1979. That year, El Centro combined with Lincoln elementary and the newly joined student body voted to change the name to Arroyo Vista Elementary school.

You can still see vestiges of the old El Centro school as you walk around the administration building. The historic quarter-ton bronze school bell rests in the front lawn. But what I find more endearing are the little kid-sized porcelain water fountains mounted along the outside corridors. You have to lean pretty far down to get a drink, but when you do you can connect with the decades of South Pasadena children who learned to read and write within the walls of this lovely structure.

11 comments:

Judy Williams said...

The craftsmanship of those brick masons is incredible!!!If you've ever watched the speed and artistry of those guys, it is indeed an awe inspiring sight.

Literally, if walls could talk, I'm certain these could manifest some wonderful stories!!

altadenahiker said...

Eyepopping! I love the herringbone pattern in the middle.

Trish said...

I used to stand out front of the library and stare at what was El Centro school. That herringbone always amazed me.

And those fountains...had the same ones at MHS, heavy porcelain, heavy handles---but nothing tasted quite so wonderful on a hot day out on the playground as a drink from those fountains.

thanks for the memories!

Mike said...

Nice!

Jean Spitzer said...

I've walked around these buildings many times, but didn't know their history. Thanks.

Dixie Jane said...

How absolutely beautifully wonderful and artistic. I love looking at this wall. You can't say that about all walls.

TheChieftess said...

Fabulous architecture!!!

Laurie said...

THanks, everyone!

Stefanie Eskander said...

I attended El Centro School my entire elementary school years. I've created a number of digital layouts about those years, combining old photos with more recent ones. There are several 'lost' elements from the original school, including a pair of sculptures that were located on either side of the main archway in the center. I wonder what ever happened to them? http://www.twopeasinabucket.com/gallery/member/307816-stefdesign/1240372-my-years-at-el-centro-school/

Laurie said...

Stefanie, welcome! This is wonderful!

SARAHLEIGH said...

dear Stefanie when did you attend el centro elementary?i do not remember statues I attended from 66-68,but I do not remember any matched statues or figures of any kind.DO YOU REMER PRINIPAL COWAN 195SOMETHING HUGE GREEN BEAST WITH AIRPLANE HOOD ORNAMENT I CAN STILL SEE THAT HUGE GREEN BEHOMOTH IN FRONT OF EL CENTRO SCHOOL RIGHT AT THE WALKWAY FROM THE CURB RIGHT PAST THE BELL TO THE OFFICE DOUBLE DOORS,OR HOW THE WALL COULD ANGLE SIDEWATS TO GET A BREEZE THROUGH THE ROOMS THE WHOLE WALL WOULD GO SIDEWAYS SARAH