The Desmond, 5500 Wiltshire Blvd, Los Angeles
Gilbert Stanley Underwood (1890-1960)
Born in 1890, Gilbert Stanley Underwood was educated at Yale and Harvard. After opening a practice office in in Los Angeles in 1923, he joined forces with Daniel Ray Hull, a landscape architect, of the National Park Service, in a commission with the Utah Parks Company of the Union Pacific Railroad to develop accommodation in Zion, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon National Parks. His buildings are considered exceptional examples of the Rustic style of architecture. His design for Yosemite National Park's The Ahwahnee, is probably his most accomplished example of the Rustic style. Underwood also designed stations for the Union Pacific, especially the magnificent Deco station in Omaha in 1931. In 1932 Underwood joined the Federal Architects Project and designed more than 20 post offices, two major federal buildings, and the U.S. State Department Building. From 1947 to 1949, he was appointed as federal supervisory architect. Underwood designed last major commission was the Jackson Lake Lodge (1950–1954), Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. He died in 1960.
The Desmond (1928) is an iconic symbol of jazz age glamour and style. An 11-story, 78,600 square foot Art Deco building offers a full city block of Wilshire Boulevard frontage in the Miracle Mile district. The Desmond’s striking architecture, terrazzo floors, ornate stone lobby, handcrafted gold-painted leaf ceilings and rooftop sky deck have been retained during the recent conversion to residential.
© Alan John Ainsworth Photography