Architecture in Los Angeles, California

Architecture in Los Angeles, California


Links to architecture sites:

  • L.A. Conservancy
  • The Parkinson Archives
  • Emporis Buildings site
  • USC Department of Geography Site
  • Winter and Hunt Image Collection, Occidental College
  • Los Angeles: Past, Present, and Future
  • Fascinating Buildings in Downtown Los Angeles
  • Glass, Steel, and Stone: Architecture of Los Angeles, CA
  • Things to Do in Los Angeles
  • Silver Screens - Los Angeles
  • You Are Here photo gallery

  • Links to information on specific buildings:

    Angels Flight
    Argyle Hotel
    Biltmore Hotel
    Bradbury Building
    Bullocks Wilshire Building
    California Plaza (One and Two)
    Capitol Records Building
    Case Study House No. 22 (Stahl House)
    Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
    Chemosphere (Malin Residence)
    City Hall
    Crystal Cathedral
    Eastern Columbia Building
    Egyptian Theater
    El Capitan Theatre
    Embassy Hotel and Auditorium
    Ennis-Brown House
    Examiner Building
    Freeman House
    Gamble House
    Grauman's Chinese Theater
    Griffith Observatory
    Hollyhock House
    Hollywood Bowl
    Hollywood Sign
    Korean Bell of Friendship and Bell Pavilion
    Library Tower
    Los Angeles Central Library
    Los Angeles International Airport
    Los Angeles Theatre
    Los Angeles Times Building
    Lovell House
    Mayan Theater
    Memorial Coliseum
    Million Dollar Theater
    Orpheum Theater
    Oviatt Building
    Pacific's Cinerama Dome
    Pacific Design Center
    Pacific Electric Building
    Pantages Theatre
    Pico House
    Riverside Mission Inn
    Santa Monica Pier
    Shrine Auditorium
    Title Guarantee Building
    Tower Theatre
    Union Station
    United Artists Theater
    Walt Disney Concert Hall
    Watts Towers
    Wayfarers Chapel
    Westin Bonaventure Hotel
    Wiltern Theater

  • Angels Flight (View Map)

    • Location: Hill St., between 3rd and 4th Sts. (Downtown)
    • Builder: Col. J. W. Eddy
    • Completed: 1901 (rebuilt 1996)
    • Visiting Tips: The railway itself has been closed since a fatal accident in 2001. It is currently being rebuilt with a tentative re-opening in late 2006. The rail can be viewed from the lower station, from California Plaza (the upper station), and a staircase that follows the track.
    • Photography: The lower station is probably the most picturesque portion of the line.
    • Links:
  • Sunset Tower Hotel (formerly the Argyle) (View Map)

    • Location: 8358 Sunset Blvd. (West Hollywood)
    • Architect: Leland Bryant
    • Completed: 1930
    • Visiting Tips: It is a hotel, and therefore semi-public, but I haven't yet been inside to see how welcoming they are...
    • Photography: The best views of the exterior are probably taken from a steep side street off Sunset Boulevard that takes you up to nearly the level of the roof.
    • Links:
  • Biltmore Hotel (View Map)
  • Bradbury Building (View Map)
  • Bullocks Wilshire Building (View Map)

    • Location: 3050 Wilshire Blvd. (W. of Downtown)
    • Architect: John and Donald Parkinson
    • Completed: 1929
    • Visiting Tips: Currently occupied by the Southwestern School of Law, and not open to the public. Public tours are held when school is not in session. Sign up through the offical site below.
    • Photography: The exterior has nicely shadowed contrasts close to sunset.
    • Links:
  • California Plaza (One and Two) (View Map)
  • Capitol Records Building (View Map)

    • Location: 1750 Vine St. (Hollywood)
    • Architect: Welton Becket and Associates
    • Completed: 1956
    • Visiting Tips: The building itself is just north of Hollywood and Vine, near the Walk of Stars. The building is a private offices, however.
    • Photography: Street level shots are somewhat unsatisfactory, but it is possible to get decent view from nearby streets.
    • Links:
  • Case Study House No. 22 (Stahl House) (View Map)
  • Catalina Casino (View Map)

    • Location: 1 Casino Way (Avalon, Catalina Island)
    • Architect: Sumner A. Spaulding and William Webber
    • Completed: 1929
    • Visiting Tips: Tours are run daily - I highly recommend taking one or seeing a movie to get a look at the interior.
    • Photography: There are murals of underwater scenes in entrance area, and good pictures of the building as a whole can be had from nearby hills and the harbor.
    • Links:
  • Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (View Map)

    • Location: 555 W. Temple St. (Downtown)
    • Architect: Jose' Moneo
    • Completed: 2002
    • Visiting Tips: The Cathedral is open to the public (including weekends) and is open to be explored. See the official site for hours.
    • Photography: Wide angle shots of the exterior can be taken from the plaza on the south side. The tapestries inside are very impressive.
    • Links:
  • Chemosphere (Malin Residence) (View Map)
  • City Hall (View Map)
  • Crystal Cathedral (View Map)

    • Location: 12141 Lewis St. (Garden Grove)
    • Architect: Philip Johnson and John Burgee
    • Completed: 1980
    • Visiting Tips: The grounds are fenced in, but often open to the public. Tours are given every day except Sundays. See the official site for details.
    • Photography: There are several buildings by noted architects (Neutra, Johnson, Meier) on the grounds. Walk around or take a tour to find some interesting angles.
    • Links:
  • Eastern Columbia Building (View Map)
  • Egyptian Theater (View Map)

    • Location: 6712 Hollywood Blvd. (Hollywood)
    • Architect: Meyer and Holler
    • Completed: 1922
    • Visiting Tips: The courtyard of the theater is public, and is worth a look. The theater does run films if you want a look inside.
    • Photography:
    • Links:
  • El Capitan Theatre (View Map)

    • Location: 6838 Hollywood Blvd. (Hollywood)
    • Architect: G. Albert Lansburgh
    • Completed: 1926
    • Visiting Tips:
    • Photography: The marquee is one of the more elaborate ones in Los Angeles
    • Links:
  • Embassy Hotel and Auditorium (View Map)
  • Ennis-Brown House (View Map)

    • Location: 2655 Glendower Ave. (Hollywood)
    • Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
    • Completed: 1924
    • Visiting Tips: The exterior can be examined from nearby residential streets, and there are tours of the interior three days a week (see the excellent Official Site below).
    • Photography: One facade of the house was in horrible disrepair the last time I visited, but hopefully this is only temporary. The concrete "textile blocks" that form the main element of the decoration of the facade are worth a close-up.
    • Links:
  • Examiner Building (View Map)
  • Freeman House (View Map)
  • Gamble House (View Map)

    • Location: 4 Westmoreland Place (Pasadena)
    • Architect: Charles S. Greene and Henry M. Greene
    • Completed: 1908
    • Visiting Tips: The house is open for tours from Thursday to Sunday. See the official site below.
    • Photography:
    • Links:
  • Grauman's Chinese Theater (View Map)

    • Location: 6925 Hollywood Blvd. (Hollywood)
    • Architect: Meyer and Holler
    • Completed: 1927
    • Visiting Tips: The courtyard is public, and can be seen at any time of day. Entrance to the building requires a movie ticket.
    • Photography: The ornamental details on the theater exterior require a zoom lens, but are worth a look. The best overall view is probably from across the street.
    • Links:
  • Griffith Observatory (View Map)

    • Location: 2800 East Observatory Road (Griffith Park)
    • Architect: John Austin and Frederick Ashley
    • Completed: 1935
    • Visiting Tips: Currently closed for renovations until late 2006.
    • Photography: A nice view of the side facing Los Angeles can be gained by taking a walking trail near the east side of the building. The walkway around the side of the main dome offers excellent views also.
    • Links:
  • Hollyhock House (View Map)

    • Location: 4808 Hollywood Blvd. (Hollywood)
    • Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
    • Completed: 1921
    • Visiting Tips: The house is normally open to the public, with tours offered from Wednesday to Sunday, but is currently closed for renovation.
    • Photography:
    • Links:
  • Hollywood Bowl (View Map)

    • Location: 2301 N. Highland Ave. (Hollywood)
    • Architect: Myron Hunt (although the ampitheater has been repeatedly modified)
    • Completed: 1926
    • Visiting Tips: There is a Bowl Museum that is open daily, year-round. See the official site below.
    • Photography: Well before concerts, it is sometimes possible to walk into the Bowl.
    • Links:
  • Hollywood Sign (View Map)

    • Location: Mount Lee, Hollywood Hills (Hollywood)
    • Completed: 1923
    • Visiting Tips: The closest views require you to drive up some winding roads above Hollywood through a residential area. The residents can be a little cranky, and there aren't good places to park at the best spot. Be considerate...
    • Photography: See the official site below.
    • Links:
  • Korean Bell of Friendship and Bell Pavilion (View Map)

    • Location: Angels Gate Park, Gaffney and 37th Sts. (San Pedro)
    • Completed: 1976
    • Visiting Tips: The Bell pavilion is in a public (but fenced) park - daytime hours apply.
    • Photography: The pavilion is in a flat open area, and lighting will generally be best in the early morning or late afternoon. A picturesque plaque in Korean is on the west side.
    • Links:
  • Library Tower (View Map)

    • Location: 633 W. 5th St. (Downtown)
    • Architect: Pei, Cobb, Freed and Partners
    • Completed: 1990
    • Visiting Tips: There is a guard desk at the entry, and they will prevent entry unless you are work there or are a guest.
    • Photography: The Tower is the tallest building in Los Angeles, so it will figure prominently in any panorama of downtown. Some angles are better than others for getting the setbacks in frame.
    • Links:
  • Los Angeles Central Library (View Map)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (View Map)

    • Location:
    • Completed: 1928
    • Visiting Tips: This is a obviously a group of public buildings, and you can explore to your heart's delight during regular hours (including weekends). See the official site below. The observation deck on the roof used to be open to the public, but has been closed since 9/11. The best bet is to visit the restaurant inside.
    • Photography: Good vantage points of the futuristic Theme Building can be had from nearby parking lots and the tops of parking structures. Be sure not to miss the complementary 8-armed light fixtures.
    • Links:
  • Los Angeles Theatre (View Map)
  • Los Angeles Times Building (View Map)
  • Lovell House (View Map)

    • Location: 4616 Dundee Dr. (Hollywood)
    • Architect: Richard Neutra
    • Completed: 1928
    • Visiting Tips:
    • Photography:
    • Links:
  • Mayan Theater (View Map)
  • Memorial Coliseum (View Map)
  • Million Dollar Theater (View Map)
  • Orpheum Theater (View Map)
  • Oviatt Building (View Map)

    • Location: 617 S. Olive St. (Downtown)
    • Architect: Walker and Eisen Architects
    • Completed: 1928
    • Visiting Tips: The L.A. Conservancy runs a walking tour that stops in this building, and sometimes allows visits to the penthouse.
    • Photography: Even the ground floor has ornate art deco ornamentation worth a look. The upper stories are harder to photograph adequately from street level.
    • Links:
  • Pacific's Cinerama Dome (View Map)
  • Pacific Design Center (Blue and Green) (View Map)
  • Pacific Electric Building (View Map)
  • Pantages Theatre (View Map)
  • Pico House (View Map)
  • Riverside Mission Inn (View Map)

    • Location: 3649 7th St. (Riverside)
    • Architect: Arthur B. Benton, Myron E. Hunt, Elmer Grey
    • Completed: 1935
    • Visiting Tips: It is a hotel, and therefore semi-public. The hotel also gives daily tours.
    • Photography: The Inn is eclectic -- wander around and you will see something interesting. The cylindrical light well and spiral staircase is one interesting spot.
    • Links:
  • Santa Monica Pier (View Map)

    • Location: end of Colorado Blvd. (Santa Monica)
    • Completed: 1909
    • Visiting Tips: Of course the place is public, and it is possible to visit any day of the year, night or day.
    • Photography: The entryway arch and Carousel building are probably the most photogenic parts of the pier.
    • Links:
  • Shrine Auditorium (View Map)
  • Title Guarantee Building (View Map)

    • Location: 425 S. Hill St. (Downtown)
    • Architect: Parkinson and Parkinson
    • Completed: 1931
    • Visiting Tips: The L.A. Conservancy runs a walking tour that enables public visits to the lobby on weekends.
    • Photography:
    • Links:
  • Tower Theatre (View Map)
  • Union Station

    • Location: 800 N. Alameda St. (Downtown)
    • Architect: John and Donald Parkinson
    • Completed: 1939
    • Visiting Tips: This is a public building, and you can explore to your heart's delight during regular hours (including weekends). The LA Conservancy runs tours of the buildings once a month.
    • Photography: The front of the builing is truly sublime at around sunset, with a few tall and slender palms framing the main building. The ticket area is also a must-see in the late afternoon with sunlight streaming in.
    • Links:
  • United Artists Theater (View Map)

    • Location: 933 S. Broadway (Downtown)
    • Architect: Walker and Eisen
    • Completed: 1927
    • Visiting Tips: The theater is currently the home of a church, and so is closed to the public unless you attend a service. The L.A. Conservancy occasionally has events here that allow you to see the interior, and its theater walking tour is sometimes allowed in.
    • Photography: The building and interior are Gothic style, but the interior is where all the most interesting detailing is.
    • Links:
  • Walt Disney Concert Hall (View Map)

    • Location: 111 S. Grand Ave. (Downtown)
    • Architect: Frank Gehry
    • Completed: 2003
    • Visiting Tips: The grounds are open to the public during the day, but fenced off at night. There is an interesting elevated walkway that runs through some of the building's folds.
    • Photography: The Hall is hard to miss on the east side of Bunker Hill, with fairly open views of the structure from several nearby streets. Try walking through the grounds for some interesting abstract pictures.
    • Links:
  • Watts Towers (View Map)
  • Wayfarers Chapel (View Map)

    • Location: 5755 S. Palos Verdes Dr. (Rancho Palos Verdes)
    • Architect: Lloyd Wright
    • Completed: 1951
    • Visiting Tips: The chapel and garden are open daily from 7 am to 5 pm (see the San Pedro Site below).
    • Photography: The chapel is mostly surrounded by trees that block harsh light, but the western exposure means the best times are probably mid to late afternoon. There is a very nice glass window framing a gnarled tree branch that can be seen from inside the chapel.
    • Links:
  • Westin Bonaventure Hotel (View Map)

    • Location: 404 S. Figueroa St. (Downtown)
    • Architect: John Portman and Associates
    • Completed: 1976
    • Visiting Tips: This is a hotel, and so is semi-public. There are a number of shops in the interior courtyard that provide convenient excuses for visiting. The building itself sits a little aloofly from the street, but it can be accessed from there or from elevated walkways to other nearby buildings.
    • Photography: There are parks nearby on Bunker Hill (near the YMCA and near the Wells Fargo building) that provide good elevated views of the hotel. The interior six-story atrium is spacious, and is worth a look.
    • Links:
  • Wiltern Theatre (View Map)

    • Location: 3790 Wilshire Boulevard (W. of Downtown)
    • Architect: G. Albert Lansburgh
    • Completed:
    • Visiting Tips:
    • Photography:
    • Links:

  • Architecture Links - Eric Sandquist - erics "at" mintaka.sdsu.edu

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