When driving down the streets of Los Angeles, you might see an eclectic collection of architecture. From post-war modern to Craftsman to Spanish to Victorian. And that is just the homes. The buildings are equally impressive and unique. Los Angeles is where all great architecture intersects to create a distinctive array of architectural styles. Some of the greatest architects of our time have created the homes and buildings that have contributed to the skyline of Los Angeles including Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry, George Wyman, John C. Austin, Renzo Piano, Richard Meier, Rafael Moneo, Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra. In the past we have profiled some of our favorite buildings in our profile of places to visit in Downtown L.A. including The Bradbury, Union Station, Disney Music Hall and City Hall, but we thought we would introduce you to some more cool structures in and around Los Angeles.
The Ennis House
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1923 for Charles and Mabel Ennis, this house is located in Los Feliz. This was Lloyd Wrights 4th and largest textile block design, constructed primarily of interlocking pre-cast concrete blocks. Designed after ancient Mayan Temples, this house is a prime example of what is known as Mayan Revival Architecture. The house can be seen in 1982’s cult classic “Blade Runner” and was also shown as the house of vampires in the popular TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. The house has also been used in commercials and music videos over the years. A historic landmark since the 1970’s, this house is an amazing example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s varied designs.
The LAX Theme Building
LAX isn’t just an airport. Nope. It has a piece of LA history on it. Originally designed to be the central terminal and major hub for traffic at LAX in the early 60’s, this iconic building looks like a flying saucer that has landed. While the terminals were eventually built elsewhere on the property, the dome structure still exists and shows a spectacular 360 degree view of Los Angeles. The building was renovated after being designated a historic-cultural monument in 1993. With a futuristic look and lighting designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, you can visit the observation deck on the weekends to watch the planes land and view the beauty of Los Angeles.
One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s first projects in Los Angeles, The Hollyhock House was first built for Aline Barnsdall and is now a part of Barnsdall Art Park in Los Angeles. While it is known as a Frank Lloyd Wright house, it is said that a lot of the design work was left up to his son Lloyd and his assistant, notable architect Rudolph Schindler. Barnsdall donated the property to the city of Los Angeles in the 1920’s because the cost of the maintenance of the residence was too high. You can now see this incredible example of Lloyd Wright’s work on tours.
The Watts Towers
Probably one of the coolest structures in Los Angeles. Located in South Central, The Watts Towers took 33 years to construct. Its architect, Simon Rodia, was an Italian American sculptor and he had no formal plan for what the towers would look like. Built with found objects, the towers consist of over 75,000 seashells, broken bottles and concrete, mirrors, ceramic tiles, figurines and much more. The story has been told that local children used to bring Rodia broken pottery to use and you can still see the logos soft drink bottles dating from the 1930’s to 1950’s in the sculpture. The towers stand as one of only 9 folk art structures on the National Registry of Historic Places.
The Getty Center
Opened in 1997, this 1.7 BILLION dollar structure was designed by architect Richard Meier. This incredible arts center is located in Brentwood and sits upon a hilltop overlooking Los Angeles. The whole experience of the Getty Center is fabulous at the start – from the hovertrain that takes you from the underground parking garage to the top of the mountain to the amazing 134,000 square foot central garden to the J. Paul Getty Museum. The structure seems like it is almost a part of its mountaintop location. If you want to experience beautiful art, in all forms, this is definitely a “must see” on your vacation to Los Angeles.
These are just a few of the great pieces of architecture here in Los Angeles. To experience all that Los Angeles has to offer, come take a tour with LA Insider Tours and discover how amazing Los Angeles is.
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The Kozars, Lethbridge, Canada
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A big thank you to Scott for our fantastic LA tour!! We got all the sights in, in one day including a last minute shop @ Dash!! Scott was full of information and my family including my 3 year old had a fantastic day!! Highly recommend !!