Watts Towers

(redirected from Towers of Simon Rodia)

Watts Towers,

group of folk-art towers in the Watts section of Los Angeles. The complex was built (1921–54) single-handedly by the self-taught Italian immigrant Simon Rodia (also spelled Rodilla, 1879–1965). Of varying heights (the tallest is nearly 100 ft/30 m high) and shapes, they are enigmatic and extraordinarily fanciful structures, sculptural in appearance and reminiscent of Antonio GaudíGaudí i Cornet, Antonio
, 1852–1926, Spanish architect. Working mainly in Barcelona, he created startling new architectural forms that paralleled the stylistic development of art nouveau or modernismo.
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's imaginative architecture. Elegant monuments to Rodia's inventiveness and industry, they are constructed of steel, stone, and cement, often in a kind of filigree, and inlaid with found objects such as china shards, bits of glass, seashells, and bottle caps in a multitude of patterns. Once considered an eyesore and threatened with demolition, the complex was eventually recognized as a significant work of art and designated a national landmark. Damaged by the 1994 earthquake, the towers underwent extensive renovations from 1995 to 2001.

Bibliography

See documentary film by E. Landler (2001).