Casa de Cadillac, the San Fernando Valley’s gleaming window into opulent mid-century car culture, has reopened after a small fire, and more than a year of construction work. A new plate glass façade replicates the dimensions of the original, which shattered in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The sparkling terrazzo, blazing neon, and lush tropical lanai that first appeared around tail finned Cadillacs in 1949 again surrounds the latest models.
In recent years, General Motors issued an order to bring all of their showrooms under a single design aesthetic, which destroyed historic buildings around the country and nearly doomed this icon. Dealership owner Howard Drake, backed by the Los Angeles Conservancy, fought for the integrity of the original building and architect Michael Zakian went to great lengths to maintain original designer Randall Duell’s glass box, while rebuilding aging infrastructure and adding contemporary amenities like a posh modernist waiting room to the roadside masterpiece.