Once you notice the roof-level details, 2100 Figueroa is hard to ignore. Now the headquarters for an electrical manufacturing firm, the building was once a lavish showroom in the heart of Los Angeles’ Auto Row. Most of the buildings that comprised this district were demolished to make way for the Los Angeles Convention Center, Staples Center and the LA Live Complex. Thus, 2100 Figueroa is a rare survivor. It is also an overlooked and underappreciated survivor. The building doesn’t show up on the L.A. Planning Department’s recent survey of potentially historic buildings and so its significance has not been officially noted. This puts this neglected gem at risk of being demolished without review or public comment. The ground floor has been radically altered and the loss of integrity means that the building wouldn’t be eligible for historic designation. However, the importance of the architects and its link to the city’s auto history should be recognized.Designed in 1926 by John and Donald Parkinson for Jack Maddox’s Lincoln dealership, the building’s opening was highly anticipated. Writers for the LA Times described it as the “biggest and best exclusive Lincoln home in America.” Reporters gushed about the showroom’s amenities which included a luxurious lobby with “retiring rooms” for guests, bellboys for errands and a luggage check room. Behind the scenes, staff were treated to a plush employee lounge with books, magazines and easy chairs. Much was also made of the soft water pipes that ensured a sparkling finish for any car washed by the dealer. The building’s exterior decoration was an “artistic but subdued” interpretation of the Spanish Renaissance style. The interior was, “of a class suited to the display of this most aristocratic of American motor cars.” During the first decades of the 20th century, John and Donald Parkinson designed some of LA’s most impressive and treasured buildings, including Union Station, the Bullocks Wilshire Department Store and the Memorial Coliseum. They also collaborated with architects John C. Austin and A. C. Martin on the Los Angeles City Hall. Besides these large civic commissions, the pair designed hundreds of buildings for everyday LA – banks, hotels, schools and shops. As Stephen Gee notes, the Parkinsons, and John in particular, “defined the look and feel of Los Angeles as a city looking to the future.” Commissions from auto related businesses were an important part of the firm’s forward-looking vision. In addition to the Maddox dealership, the Parkinsons created an extravagant showroom for Earl C. Anthony at Hope and Olympic, as well as assembly plants and warehouses for the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and Ford Motor Company. These were functional buildings, but the architects added details that made them stand out. As part of this legacy, 2100 Figueroa contributes to our understanding of the firm’s approach and sheds light on the city’s emerging autopia. The building definitely deserves more attention.
 Elaborate Plant Planned by Maddux in New Building”, Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Dec 5, 1926; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times, pg. G9
 “Maddux Plans New Building on Auto Row”, Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); May 9, 1926; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times, pg. G3
 Stephen Gee, “Iconic Vision: John Parkinson Architect of Los Angeles” Angel City Press, 2013