Monday, March 31, 2014
Building Focus: What's Up With The Wallis
What do you do with an historic post office in the middle of Beverly Hills that is no longer being used as a post office? Turn it into a world-class performing arts center, of course, while preserving the original architecture and wonderful sense of history! Meet The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, affectionately known as "The Wallis." I truly hope that what's been done here can be used as the blueprint to save so many other buildings that are no longer serving their original purpose. What a fantastic alternative to simply tearing them down and starting over!!!
The above picture is a side view of the building, and below is a shot of my friend Kimberly and me hanging out in the Grand Hall, which serves as the main lobby. Look at those marble-clad walls!
Here's the entrance (which faces Santa Monica Boulvard) back in the early days of the Post Office, complete with smartly-dressed postal workers...
...and the same entrance in March, when my son and I attended a fabulous children's play called White. That is one thing that I think is really wonderful about The Wallis: shows for kids! We saw White in the Studio Theater, which was the original mail sorting room, and we sat on the floor. A show and setting like this is perfect for introducing little ones to the joys of the theatre, and nice for parents because they don't have to worry that their child might make noise or want to get up or disturb someone.
In the Grand Hall, there are eight fresco murals. They were funded under FDR's administration, and each one portrays something having to do with the postal service or labor force. There is one that depicts the pony express, for example, and another with an airplane on it. The end of the hallway in the picture below is where the original Post Office building ends, and the new addition begins.
There is a wonderful outdoor space with a sculpture garden! I love that you can be right in the middle of bustling Bev Hills and still feel calm.
This is the Goldsmith Theater, where the major productions happen, and it is part of the new addition to the building. The accoustics are fantastic, and I was blown away by the production when I saw Noel Coward's Brief Encounter here in March.
And like you need another reason to check out The Wallis... but there's a gourmet candy store there!
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
9390 North Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Twitter and Instagram: @TheWallisBH