Does Fullerton Hate Modern Architecture?

We Really Like This
We Really Like This Sort of Stuff

It’s bad enough that the City of Fullerton has always shown a penchant for fake old, with its attendant brick veneer and styrofoam cornices. Sooner or later we may actually come to accept this affront to taste by the bureaucratic boobeoisie. What really adds insult to injury, however is the cavalier way that modern architecture is treated by the City. By “modern’ we really mean functional, original architecture that encloses space creatively that employs abstract patterns, uses modern materials, and that expresses its structure in its outward appearance.


What really bugs us was to watch last year’s “Jefferson Commons” abomination approved unanimously by the City Council. Bad enough was the proposed monstrosity; we’re used to architectural crap. Even worse was the propsed demolition of three mid-century modern gems on Chapman Avenue without so much as a backward glance.


So why do we bring this up again? Last night the Council voted to extend the permit deadlines for an additional two years since the new developer (the old one already bailed out) can’t get financing. Several speakers pleaded the case that the buildings in question have historical merit that was not recognized by a faulty CEQA process (wow, no surprise there!), and that demolition should be postponed at least until a final project looks like it could start. These seem like a pretty prudent path to us.

Why these buildings were not originally identified as historic resources is not hard to explain. The City ignores anything not listed on their register of significant buildings; that accomplishes the bare minimum of CEQA requirements, but doesn’t say much for the integrity of the process. The out-of-town lobbyist had done a good job of spreading around the wealth and the buildings never stood a chance. Meanwhile, Fullerton’s Heritage group, that should have been raising Holy Hell, was apparently too busy putting brass plaques on things and telling NOCCCD administrators how much they prefer fake old to modern architecture.

16 Replies to “Does Fullerton Hate Modern Architecture?”

  1. Follow the money. Steve Sheldon cast his bread upon the waters – and got what he wanted.

  2. The irony. I wonder how many councilmembers and planning staff went to the Museum’s Julius Shulman opening last Saturday. I’ll bet that nincompoop Quirk was there celebrating Fullerton’s rich architectural heritage; and I’ll bet everybody has already forgoten she voted to have those buildings demolished.

    Well, almost every one forgot!

  3. admin, “But why”? Let me help you, unsophisticated people don’t have an understanding (appreciation) of design. You heard Mr. Jones say it “some people like Salvador Dali paintings nut ha, not me, I don’t want to hang those in my house, I don’t want to hang those in my city”. Focus on educating the ignorant instead of making fun of them, it might get you more believers and less haters.

  4. Sal, isn’t “educating” people the job of our wonderful public school system?

    Sad to say, experience has shown me that many people are uneducable. Sort of like donkeys. They can be trained to do useful tasks which they do in a sullen, sort of truculent way (but watch out if the amibitious donkeys get into decision making jobs!); but to appreciate aesthetics, not to mention abstractions? You might as well try to teach a sea urchin to play the banjo.

  5. admin, “I saw you at Quirk’s fundraiser”, I’ve never been to a Quirk fundraiser, so shut your yapper!

  6. Funny you should mention Fullerton Heritage. Our neighborhood sent them packing at the most senseless city-planning sponsored meeting about 3 months ago. I have to say, the arrogance they displayed was trumped only by their own stupidity.

  7. Kanani, it’s not easy being ignorant and arrogant but that’s the way the Planning Department operated under Paul Dudley for years. Maybe the Heritage group took lessons.

    BTW, ever see my follow-up comment about Pasadena?

  8. changed my mind, im staying in fullerton. Is fullerton heritage the culprit behind save the fox theatre known in homeless circles as the urinal? the fox theatre and it surroundings are genuine blight, and why does this frumpy theatre feature movies that no one cares to see. excuse my snobbism, but why are fullerton residents and businesses being led by the nose by elementary school teacher Sharon Quirk? Where are fullerton’s true civic leaders whose vision isnt limited to primary colors?

  9. I think you are being unfair to that heritage association. I went to a program they did on Art Deco about 10 years ago that was outstanding.

  10. Fullerton loves fast money over good architecture.

    At the city council meeting Tuesday night the approved extension of the CUP for University whatever it’s called now (formerly Jefferson Commons) was explained by staff to be necessary because there is a clause in the new funding that requires the site to be vacant for six months. At least it will be six months of not looking at the monstrosity they approved.

  11. Sorry Harpoon. Didn’t see them. Am busy here in Savannah. Limited computer time. But yes, I’d have to say their arrogance is utterly astounding and they seem interested in ‘quaint.’ We hope the boot we gave them was final or we’ll have to pull out our flock of flamingos.

  12. They came to me once with some idiocy about putting in two strips of concrete in my driveway. They couldn’t have cared less about architectural quality. They were addicted to the notion that a new house look like it was built in 1925.

    I don’t know about the group but their leadership seems really clueless. I told them I had just sold my Model T – so no strips of concrete for the driveway.

    I also read their president’s letter in the Observer praising FJC for that crap they are erecting on campus on our dime. That pretty well summed things up.

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