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A Really Shipshape Building

July 14, 1985

I am writing to make a correction to Sam Hall Kaplan's review in the Los Angeles Times (Book Review, June 30) of Spiro Kostof's book, "A History of Architecture."

Mr. Kaplan asserts to be an error the "explanation that the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Los Angeles was designed in the style of a sleek ocean liner because it lent the company an image of purity. Actually . . . the nautical design of the plant was prompted simply by deference to the company's president, a weekend sailor."

I am the daughter of the architect of the Coca-Cola bottling plant of Los Angeles, the late Robert V. Derrah. I remember well my father's telling of an early conference with the company's president, Mr. Stanley K. Barbee, during which my father was asked by Mr. Barbee to suggest for the design a theme which would represent the utmost in cleanliness. After a moment's thought, my father replied, "An ocean liner."

While it is certainly true that Mr. Barbee was a weekend sailor, the foremost purpose for the building's resemblance to an ocean liner was to convey the appearance of the cleanliness appropriate to a bottling plant.

BETTIE DERRAH JENSEN

Beverly Hills

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