The architecture of the extraordinary Getty Center is said to outshine the art displayed within its galleries. Architect Richard Meier created an elegant, sophisticated space that is nevertheless warmly welcoming.
This Frank Gehry-designed (see Walt Disney Concert Hall) Downtown extravaganza is easily recognized by its shiny and dynamically curved exterior. Home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, it seats over 2,000 people. The city-block-sized complex also contains two outdoor amphitheaters.
835 N Kings Rd, West Hollywood • 323-651-1510 • Open 11am–6pm Wed–Sun • Adm
The once-private home and studio of Vienna-born architect Rudolf Schindler (1887–1953) is a modern architectural classic. Completed in 1922, the house has a flat roof, open floor plan, ample use of glass, and rooms opening to a courtyard. It greatly influenced California architecture and today, it houses the MAK Center for Arts and Architecture, which hosts a year-round schedule of architectural tours, exhibitions, lectures, and other interesting events.
Since 1961, a flying saucer has made its home in the center of LAX, its space-themed design offering the promise of an optimistic future. The architectural firm of Pereira and Luckman found inspiration for their design in Southern California’s unique Googie style of futurist architecture, inspired by space, cars and jets. In 2018, it became home for Bob Hope’s USO for military members.
This light-flooded 1893 office building, with its open-cage elevators, frilly iron work, and marble floors, is one of LA’s top architectural landmarks. Architect George Wyman allegedly accepted the job after consulting a Ouija board. Movie buffs might recognize it from Blade Runner and Chinatown.
340 Main St, Venice • Not open to public
Reflecting architect Frank Gehry’s sculptural approach, this building was commissioned by advertising firm Chiat/Day as its West Coast corporate headquarters in 1991. It has as its center a three-story-tall pair of binoculars by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, while the rust-colored columns on the right resemble a deconstructed forest.
This stunning Pasadena Craftsman bungalow marks the pinnacle of the career of Charles and Henry Greene. Built in 1908 as the retirement home of David and Mary Gamble of the Procter & Gamble family, the house has a beautiful garden, wide terraces, and open sleeping porches.
776 Torreyson Dr, Hollywood Hills • Not open to the public
John Lautner’s bold, often experimental architectural style is perfectly exemplified in this unique private home in the Hollywood Hills. Resembling a flying saucer on a single concrete column, it was built in 1960, the same year President John F. Kennedy launched the challenge to put a man on the moon. The house was featured in Brian de Palma’s 1984 movie Body Double.
One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces of avant-garde architecture, the 1921 Hollyhock House was the architect’s first LA commission. Anchoring Barnsdall Art Park, the house takes full advantage of the mild California climate. Wright created seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor space and made ample use of patios, porches, and rooftop terraces.
Behind the fortress-like exterior of the cathedral, designed by José Rafael Moneo, awaits a minimalist hall of worship, where the lack of right angles and supporting pillars creates a sense of spacious loftiness. You don’t have to be a Roman Catholic to appreciate the lovely tapestries of the nave, depicting dozens of saints.