Friday, May 17, 2024

Top Landmark Historic Buildings in Los Angeles: Architecture that Impresses

What is Los Angeles most often associated with? It is a city of glamor and abundance, with Hollywood studios, designer brands and big mansions. In short, it can be called entertainment. Its architecture and history, which deserve equal attention, will help you get to know the city better. LA-future will share the most famous buildings and architectural gems everyone should know about.

Griffith Observatory

This world-famous construction was opened back in 1935. It was named after Colonel Griffith, who donated the land and money in his will to build the observatory. His wish was to make astronomy accessible to the general public, and he succeeded. The scale of the project was impressive, beginning from the planning stage. The team of the most skilled astronomers and scientists of those times worked on its implementation.

The architecture of the building is characterized by the following details:

  • the Greek key pattern was cast directly into the concrete
  • one can notice elegant bronze and glass on the entrance door
  • the decorative metal window grates
  • copper-plated domes
  • at the observatory, visitors will see a monument to famous astronauts.

The space theme prevails in the interior. Specialists used the best materials for furnishing the interior of the building.

Watts Towers Arts Center

This center helps to raise modern art to a new level. The exhibition of 17 towers can be found in Simon Rodia State Historic Park, designed by the Italian-American artist Sabato Rodia. Sculptural elements and mosaics, which are placed on the site of the original residential property in Watts, particularly attract attention. The whole process, from the idea to its implementation, took 33 years. The exposition of sculptures is made of steel reinforcement and Rodia’s original material. The artist wrapped all the construction with wire mesh.

Interestingly, the Rodia Towers were condemned and ordered to be destroyed by the Los Angeles authorities in 1956. When this decision was disclosed and opposed by the public, it was changed. Already in 1990, Watts Towers were recognized as a National Historic Landmark and a California Historical Landmark.

Many citizens, as well as guests of Los Angeles, were inspired by the Rodia Towers to unite and preserve the artist’s work.

Fox Plaza Skyscraper

This is one of the most notable buildings in Los Angeles, as it was shot in the cult film Die Hard. However, the skyscraper can boast many other things to capture one’s attention. Numerous architectural frills make the skyscraper a unique structure. In many interviews, engineers emphasized that Fox Plaza has four massive chillers, while other buildings have just one, thus the skyscraper looks more attractive.

A 34-story skyscraper in Century City was completed in 1987. Viewers could watch the building in The X-Files, Lethal Weapon 2, the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful and many other movies.

Union Station

It is one of America’s last largest railroad stations and a classic example of downtown Los Angeles architecture. This place is often the starting point in architecture tours. The building combines the best features of Mission Revival and Art Deco styles and Spanish Colonial Revival architecture.

The construction of Union Station was completed in 1939. The architects of the project were John and Donald Parkinson (father and son). The new station cost $11 million. Union Station was built to replace the previous La Grande station, which was heavily damaged by an earthquake in Long Beach in 1933. In 1980, the station was included in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Theme Building LAX

This building is located at Los Angeles International Airport and serves as a great example of the Space Age design style. This style is characterized by dramatic and bold angles combined with “exaggerated” and futuristic elements. The white building resembles a flying saucer that landed on its four legs, making it look quite spectacular.

The project was originally created by James Langenheim. Later, a group of talented architects and engineers led by William Pereira and Charles Luckman continued the construction. The Theme Building looks like a set from a fantastic movie about aliens.

The construction of LAX was finished in 1961.

The Pico House

The Pico House appeared thanks to the order and support of the last Mexican Governor of California, Pio Pico. The House was completed in 1870 and became the most luxurious hotel in Southern California.

Ezra F. Kysor was the architect of this project. The Victorian style of the building still attracts locals, tourists and photographers from different corners of the world. It is worth finding out what is so special about the architecture of the Pico House.

  • Italianate-style deep-set arched windows and doors
  • Main Street and Plaza facades are well plastered and resemble blue granite
  • initially, the popular hotel had 82 bedrooms and 21 rooms, including bathrooms and toilets for men and women on each of the three floors.

Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites

This is the largest hotel complex in Los Angeles, which exemplifies the postmodern architecture style. The hotel was designed by John C. Portman, Jr and completed in 1976. A 33-story building houses a restaurant and a bar on the top floor. 

More information about the Westin Bonaventure one can find in Fredric Jameson’s book “Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism.” The hotel complex also served as a set for films such as In the Line of Fire, True Lies and Forget Paris. There are several bronze plaques depicting scenes from the movies shot in the elevator. Summing up, this establishment has appeared in many cult films and series.

The Bradbury Building

The Bradbury Building was opened back in 1893 but still looks magnificent. Just imagine a charming Victorian court filled with light, panoramic elevators, marble staircases and elegant iron handrails.

The Bradbury Building is Los Angeles’ oldest commercial building in the city center. It is absolutely an architectural gem that captivates everyone and especially photographers across the world.

The architects were Sumner P. Hunt and George H. Wyman. In the early 1990s, the Bradbury Building was renovated with the help of investor Ira Yellin and his company’s project.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

In 2003, this impressive building opened its doors to all people. Since then, the Walt Disney Concert Hall has been incredibly popular and can accommodate more than 2,200 people. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale are part of this establishment as well. 

The building was designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Frank Gehry. Critics, architects, and visitors from all over the world give credit for the stunning architecture and extraordinary sound system. Interestingly, you can see one of Gehry’s signatures in the design of the building. Curved metal surfaces also attract attention. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is one of the best examples of Los Angeles architecture.

This list definitely can be endless. LA has a rich history that is worth learning, so what to start with? Choose one or several attractions at once and dive into exploration.

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