InspiringPlaces#1: Grace Nicholson Building (Pacific Asia Museum), Los Angeles USA

The InspiringPlaces Mini-Project

For the next few weeks, once per week, I’ll be posting a short description of a building or a place that I’ve found intriguing, beautiful, or thought-provoking. One place, one photo, 100 words or less. I’m hoping this small set task will be a discipline that will help get me into the practice of regular writing. I’ll keep doing it until I start repeating myself or feel that the project has run out of steam. OK, so now for the first InspiringPlace (…drum roll…):

Grace Nicholson Building (Pacific Asia Museum)

I discovered the Grace Nicholson Building on a visit to L.A. in 2004. Walking in Pasadena, I was intrigued by its swooping roofline and inviting archway. Begun in 1924 by a local architectural firm, the building stands as a monument to a unique woman, Grace Nicholson (1877-1948), an art dealer and anthropologist who specialised in Native American arts and culture. The design is not kitsch; it is a carefully-researched example of traditional Chinese architecture and a peaceful sanctuary for the arts that is extraordinary in the context of L.A.’s glitz and grit.

Note: there are some atmospheric historic photographs of the building, some from the mid-twentieth century, at the Pasadena Digital History Collaboration.
Entrance to the Grace Nicholson Building, Pasadena
Entrance to the Pacific Asia Museum. Photo by Catherine Howell, 2004.


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