Ask Chris: I Saw a Historic Building at Hollywood and Highland That Spells Building With a V. Was That Some Fancy Architectural Decision or a Major Spelling Mistake?

Our in-house historian has the answer

The Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles describes the 1927 Hollywood First National “BVILDING” as a “strange but effective Gothic and Spanish Revival goulash.” Architectural firm Meyer & Holler, which also designed the Chinese and the Egyptian theaters, employed ancient Latin to add gravitas to its design. The age-old language lacks a capital U, however. Architects use Latin because “they want to look erudite,” says Emmanuel Schwartz of the École des Beaux Arts in Paris, who finds the practice in bad taste. “Ayn Rand wrote a best-selling novel, The Fountainhead,” about such posturing, he says. Veni, vidi, vici.