Having recently moved to Los Angeles, I'm quickly becoming acquainted with the many great aspects of this city. Summer weather in January. Access to fantastic beaches. Sports teams that do more than just make the playoffs. But one of the most exciting aspects of this new experience, is the amount of the great architecture that I now live near.
LA has always been a magnet for actors and musicians. However, a quick drive around town will show that architects have a place in it's history as well. Frank Lloyd Wright, Renzo Piano, and Frank Gehry have all chosen to build here. From concert halls and amphitheaters, to private homes and public space, Los Angeles's has it's share of historically significant structures.
Below is a list of some of the amazing architecture that I'm excited to see in real life.
Sheats / Goldstein Residence
Completed in 1963, architect John Lautner originally designed the home for Helen and Paul Sheats, and their five children. After a number of different owners, and a few years of neglect, the home was purchased by LA Lakers superfan, and Versace connoisseur, James Goldstein in 1972. Over the next two decades, Goldstein and Lautner collaborated on updating the home, until Lautner's death in 1994.
The home is a solid example of American Organic Architecture. Pieces of Organic Architecture are built in harmony with the natural surrounds of the area. These designs promote a oneness with the existing environment, and try to balance the relationship between human and nature. Often, the themed is carried throughout the structure, by integrating a natural aesthetic into the interior design as well. One famous example of Organic Architecture is Frank Lloyd Wright "Fallingwater".
The home is considered to be Lautner's most cohesive work, as he designed not only the home's structure, but the windows, doors, rugs, lighting and furniture. This extensive detail allows the home to live as one complete piece.
I was kind of disappointed to learn that Jackie Treehorn didn't really live here.
What more can be said about Charles and Ray Eames? Pioneers. Innovators. Ambassadors. This husband and wife team transcended beyond the world of design, to become cultural icons of the 20th century. Together, they built a legacy that is unmatched, even by today's standards.
Eames House was not only their sanctuary, but a physical example of their ideas in production. After WW2, they partnered with a larger movement of builders, to help advocate for the production of affordable housing for veterans. They believed that by mass-producing architectural components, they could help bring low-cost modern design to the masses. Eames' own Los Angeles house incorporated the use of prefabricated designs, such as structural elements from trade catalogues. This house represented their do-it-yourself mentality towards modern design.
Frank Lloyd Wright needs no introduction. His name is so synonymous with architecture, that he has has become the permanent celebrity of his field. He is to architecture, what Ansel Adams is to photography, Marlon Brando is to acting, and Michael Jordan is to basketball. His talents, craftsmanship, and body of work have solidified him as one of the greatest American architects of all time. If you don't believe me, ask the American Institute of Architects, who, in 1991, recognized him as "The Greatest American Architect of All Time".
Finished in 1924, the Ennis House is the largest of the 4 Wright Block Houses (the Millard House, the Freeman House, and the Storer House being the other 3). This 6,200 square foot home is built using an interlocking series of decorative concrete bricks, measuring 16" wide by 16" tall (approximately 27,000). This 3 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath home is located on nearly an acre of land in Los Feliz, CA. It is considered to be the best example of Mayan Revival in the country.
This home wins major cool points for serving as one of the backdrops in Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner.
One thing to note is that Wright lived to be 91 years old (he died in 1959). Again, he lived to be 91... and died in 1959. That was a time when doctors prescribed cigarettes for labor pains. That was a time when doctors were still performing lobotomies. So, not only was he a pioneer, but he was a certified bad ass.
This is by no means a complete list. I have at least 30 other sites on my custom "Architecture" Google Map (excluding film locations). If you have any must-see places to visit, please send them along.