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Los Angeles Architecture: The Best of the Best

Los Angeles Architecture is Both Historic and Contemporary

There’s so much architecture in Los Angeles. You’ve got the historic. You’ve got the contemporary. And you’ve also got Hollywood. You’ve got architecture down by the beach. You’ve got architecture up in the mountains where there’s snow.

I mean there is so much going on in Los Angeles when it comes to architecture. But let’s talk about some of the obvious like, for example, Griffith Observatory. What a landmark in the area of Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills. How about the Getty Museum, which is a contemporary piece of architecture? It’s one of the most beautiful museums in the world made of fabulous gorgeous materials. It took decades to build by Richard Meier who is a very well known architect of our time.

Government Buildings in LA

Then you have other structures such as the Federal Building in Santa Monica. The federal government was notorious for having federal buildings all over the place. They house all their administrative offices like the IRS, the FBI, Veterans Administration. All these departments that serve the community, right? So, these buildings of some type of notoriety. They became known for establishing the theme of the Los Angeles architecture in the neighborhood. We remember when the Ronald Reagan Federal Building in Santa Ana went up. It went up in an area that it was very deteriorated and run-down.

After that building came up, the whole district started developing quite well. Santa Ana, downtown Santa Ana has become an area which is fun to walk through. It’s very artsy. Yet, it’s been able to maintain its historic, cultural nature of what it was back in the 1930s, 1920s. It’s been able to do that and improve on that. Some beautiful restaurants have moved into the area.

Downtown Los Angeles Architecture

Then you contrast that with up the street up in downtown Los Angeles. It also is a mix and match of different types of styles of architecture. Some of it industrial. Some of them residential. And some of them change in its architectural style and culture from one street to the other. That’s because we’ve got so many cultures here in Southern California. Everything from Latino to Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, the communities are so diverse. That is what makes Los Angeles, Orange County areas so popular because of that diversity.

los angeles architecture

It’s not for everybody, but the people that are here are able to make the neighborhoods work. And they have their own criteria, their own uniqueness about them that make them special. Then you’ve got some of the involved parks. And let’s not talk about our freeways. That’s not Los Angeles architecture. But, the area surrounding it is worth coming by to visit. I like to talk about the Hollywood Sign. If you’ve never walked up there through the Hollywood Hills. You can see some beautiful homes walking making your way up to the Hollywood Sign. It’s worth taking that walk.

Famous Architects of Southern California Buildings

So, let’s talk about some of the architects that have influenced Southern California. Let’s talk about the obvious. Frank Lloyd Wright had a tremendous influence here. He built some beautiful structures like the Hollyhock House. That now have turned these buildings into museums.

Richard Meier, of course, has made his impact with the buildings like the Getty Museum that he built. He also built the buildings over by the Crystal Cathedral. Speaking of the Crystal Cathedral now it’s called Christ Cathedral. Phillip Johnson built the design of the Crystal Cathedral. Richard Neutra also designed one of the earlier structures at the Crystal Cathedral. So, you’ve got an influence of architects that made their mark here in Southern California. That’s only a speck of all the good architects that have had influence in Southern California.

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