Putting John Parkinson Back on the Map: Interview with Iconic Vision Author Stephen Gee

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When TV producer Stephen Gee started hearing the name “John Parkinson” over and over on the L.A. Conservancy tours he was taking of downtown Los Angeles, he decided to find out more. His quest lead him to write a book: “Iconic Vision: John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles.” Listen to Lisa Napoli’s interview with Gee, here.

Author Stephen Gee

When TV producer Stephen Gee, left, started hearing the name “John Parkinson” over and over on the L.A. Conservancy tours he was taking of downtown Los Angeles, he decided to find out more.

Gee, who is British, had just started working in the neighborhood when he ducked into the public library to find a picture of Parkinson, the man he learned was responsible for many of the beautiful downtown buildings that still stand today. His request for the John Parkinson section was met with a blank stare.

Gee decided to change that. He began researching the fellow Brit who left an indelible imprint on the city, from Union Station to City Hall to Bullocks Wilshire to the L.A. Coliseum, and dozens of others to his credit. His resulting book is called “Iconic Vision: John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles” and has just been published by Angel City Press.

For our conversation, Gee lured me up to the top of City Hall just before sunset. (If you haven’t been yourself, you must!)

See Caroline Chamberlain’s interview with Stephen Gee, here.

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Below, a documentary about the architect:

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Union Station was the culmination of a long battle.
Gee says even before he knew the architect of Bullock's Wilshire, he'd hope for a red light when he drove by so he could stare at its splendor.  Now, of course, it's a law school, not a department store.
Gee says even before he knew the architect of Bullocks Wilshire, he’d hope for a red light when he drove by so he could stare at its splendor. Now it’s a law school, not a department store.