A west Los Angeles diner that is celebrated as a classic example of mid-20th century Space Age-style Googie architecture has been mentioned on a record by singer Tom Waits and depicted with fiery streaks of orange by painter Edward Ruscha.
The 1956 Norms restaurant location received another mark of distinction on Thursday when the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission voted 5-0 to recommend designating it as a cultural monument to be preserved, officials said.
The City Council is expected in the coming weeks to make a final decision.
The move to preserve the diner amid concern that it might be demolished has galvanized conservationists in a city renowned for tearing down buildings many consider landmarks.
The restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard, which is one location in the Norms diner chain in Southern California, was designed by architects Louis Armet and Eldon Davis.
It is famous as an example of Googie architecture. The post-World War Two architectural style originated in Southern California and often was employed for coffee shops. It is characterized by its Space Age design elements, taking influences from cars and jets.
The city’s Cultural Heritage Commission noted a number of Googie features in the Norms restaurant, including a cantilevered roofline and its sharp angles and sweeping curves.
City Councilman Paul Koretz, who spoke in favor of preservation, said in a telephone interview it was perhaps the best example of the Googie style remaining in Los Angeles.
Tom Waits mentioned the Norms location in his song “Eggs and Sausage.” Artist Edward Ruscha painted it in his “Norms La Cienega On Fire.”
“It’s a great place where you see just about everybody, a very diverse group of people from film and TV stars to professional athletes to a lot of regular folks who just want good, reasonable food and have been going there for many years,” Koretz said.
JDM Holdings, the owner of the building, alarmed conservationists when it pulled a permit to demolish the building, Koretz said.
The company through an attorney has since expressed interest in saving the building and incorporating it into a development at the site, city officials said.