With reference to the aforementioned Blue Whale I have some further comments as to its merit in terms of urban design and "walkability."
Whether a building is a "good" "bad" or "indifferent" depends on the frame of reference and the standard by which you are judging it. So people can have different conclusions depending on their perspective. The only problem with that is that that there are some frames of reference which are more socially-desirable than others. Promoting "Walkable Neighborhoods" is of course what I think is most important. Of course what confounds me and what makes the whole issue more difficult is that there is no inherent conflict between "object" buildings like the Blue Whale and promoting walkable neighborhoods — if the designer and the owner care about making one.
The Pacific Design Center (the "Blue Whale") is in fact (ironically and tragically) in or at the edge of a walkable pedestrian-oriented neighborhood....a traditional built-to-the-property line "Main Street" neighborhood. And yet it turns away from the street. You can't see in because of the color (?) of the glass. It has a plaza in front to keep pedestrians at a distance. It isolates itself from its community. It doesn't "talk" to its neighbors except to say "Go away, I am high design." Its primary mistake is its (lack of) orientation/connection to the street. Its designers should apologize and indicate some regret. To paraphrase Marlon Brando, "It coulda been a contender."
Here's a street-level shots from Google showing the Blue Whale:
Here's a shot showing Melrose Avenue a block or so west of the Whale:
See what I mean? Even better, Google to 8687 Melrose Ave West Hollywood CA and via "Street View" (click the little orange figure) see for yourself what the neighborhood is like.
(Click on photos above to enlarge.)