Marvin Rand was a native Angeleno. In a city where most people have come from somewhere else in search of something better, Rand’s photographs—many lost to time since the mid-century—reveal the perspective of an insider. The images he produced reflect a career that celebrated the city’s most important contributions to architectural history.
Rand’s signature was both distinct and sought after in mid-century Los Angeles’s burgeoning architectural scene. The proliferating practices spatializing the technological achievements of the military for a postwar society, such as the development of plastics, plywood, and glues for the aircraft industry—and their increasingly progressive client base—found in his pictures a profoundly impactful representation of the city’s visionary designs.
These new construction technologies widened dramatically the design vocabulary of architecture, allowing longer spans between structural elements, open plans, large expanses of glazing, and an overall lightness of the building massing.
Compared to the prewar years, when historicist and Modernist worlds both received coverage in design magazines, after the war, the magazines boldly asserted a new agenda, in which applied sciences had been domesticated in the service of the mid-century citizen.