LA’s graffiti-tagged skyscraper: a work of art and symbol of city’s wider failings


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An asparagus patch is how the architect Charles Moore described the lackluster skyline of downtown Los Angeles in the 1980s. “The tallest stalk and the shortest stalk are just alike, except that the tallest has shot father out of the ground.” This sprawling city of bungalows has never been known for the quality of its high-rise buildings, and not much has changed since Moore’s day. A 1950s ordinance dictating that every tower must have a flat roof was rescinded in 2014, spawning a handful of clumsy quiffs and crowns atop a fresh crop of swollen glass slabs . It only...