AKA: Park La Brea Apartments, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - housing

Designers: Heitschmidt, Earl T. Architect (firm); Kaufmann and Stanton, Architects (firm); Schultze, Leonard, and Associates, Architects (firm); Tomson, Tommy, Landscape Architect (firm); Earl Theodore Heitschmidt (architect); Gordon Bernie Kaufmann (architect); Leonard B. Schultze (architect); Jesse Earl Stanton (architect); Thomas Tomson (landscape architect)

Dates: constructed 1941-1948

6200 West 3rd Street
Central Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90036

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map
Google Streetview (new tab)
click to view google map


The New York-based Metropolitan Life Insurance Company bankrolled this huge 4,255-unit complex of 31, two-floor townhouses and 18 skyscrapers of 13 floors each. The low-rise townhouses were begun before America's involvement in World War II (and completed in 1944), while the towers were built following. Comprising 160 acres, the Park La Brea was and remains the largest housing tract constructed west of the Mississippi River.

Building History

New York-based Leonard Schultze Associates (successor firm of Schultz and Weaver, Architects, designers of the Biltmore Hotel [1923], Hellman Commercial Trust and Savings Bank Building, Los Angeles [1924] and other skyscrapers in CA) produced the designs for Park La Brea, with the assistance of the Los Angeles firm of Kaufmann and Stanton. Tommy Thomson worked on the landscape design of the Park La Brea Apartments.

Building Notes

In 1941, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company was the world's second largest private business behind only American Telephone and Telegraph (A,T &T). It planned to build 2,400 rental apartment units charging less than market rates in 04/1941. This potential enraged apartment landlords who feared that the giant project would deflate rents across Los Angeles, CA, and they filed suit to stop Metropolitan from undertaking the complex. (See "Large Scale Squabble," Architectural Forum, 74:4, April 1941, p. 72, 74.) Metlife used some of its profits to invest in several high-rise apartment complexes across the US just after World War II, the first being Parkchester in the Bronx, NY, finished in 1942. Thereafter, it funded other contemporary complexes such as Parkfairfax, Alexandria, VA (built in 1941-1942 to provide housing for Pentagon personnel), Stuyvesant Town Center-Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan, New York, NY (1941-1947) and Parkmerced in San Francsico, CA (1941-1951). The plans of Park La Brea and Parkmerced had strong similarities, with each plan having axial street layouts converging on a central round green space. Park La Brea's plan was made up of three such central axial motifs, while Parkmerced possessed one main central focal point, an oval central green. In general, Park La Brea's layout was much more axial and structured than the more free-form Parkmerced. Each plan contained low-rise and high-rise dwellings; the high-rises had cruciform plans, resembling those advocated by the Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier (1887-1965) in the 1920s.


Additional units were added in 1948-1949.

PCAD id: 4345