Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

The Mother of Us All

Reyner Banham wasn’t cowed by many, but even he was nervous about meeting Esther McCoy. When he arrived in Los Angeles in 1965, it was five years after the publication of McCoy’s Five California Architects had given the contemporary scene a backstory, highlighting the careers of Greene & Greene, Irving Gill, Bernard Maybeck and R.M. Schindler. As Banham wrote, “Until about 1960, the rest of the world had practically no idea at all about architecture in California… Then this extraordinary book came out in 1960, and – suddenly – California architecture had heroes, history, and character.”