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Los Angeles – Be a guest in the city of angels #places2.0

6 min read

There is probably hardly anyone who does not know the Hollywood sign in the hills above Los Angeles. As the center of the American film and television business, the city is home to famous studios such as Paramount Pictures, Universal and Warner Brothers, which also offer tours of their sets. The TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard features the hand and footprints of renowned actors, the Walk of Fame honors countless Hollywood actors, and city maps with the domiciles of stars and starlets are on sale everywhere.

#places: Los Angeles

Country: USA
Inhabitants: ca. 4 Mio.
Area: 1.290,6 km²
Famous landmark: Hollywood Sign

But California's business and cultural center is also impressive in terms of architecture. Famous 20th century architects such as Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, Pierre Koenig and John Lautner went to Los Angeles to realize their visions. Today, their buildings are considered pioneers of modern American architecture in the USA. They influenced a whole generation of builders, architects and designers.

Lovell House, Hollywood Hills, Richard Neutra, ©Michael J. Locke
Lovell House, Hollywood Hills, Richard Neutra, ©Michael J. Locke

ARCHITECTURE

Unlike other major American cities, the Californian metropolis grew in width rather than height due to the increased risk of earthquakes. Until 1958, buildings were allowed to be a maximum of 14 stories high, but the rapidly growing city needed housing for immigrants and veterans, who settled here thanks to generous government support. The building boom attracted many renowned 20th century architects to the city, who realized innovative concepts here. One of the founders of modern California architecture was Rudolph Michael Schindler, former employee of Frank Lloyd Wright, who came to Los Angeles in 1920 and two years later completed the Schindler House in West Hollywood, named after him. The open-plan residence with no living room, dining room, or bedroom, with its sliding doors and large glass doors, is considered the first house in Californian Modernism.

Address: 835 N Kings Rd, 90069 West Hollywood

Schindler House, ©Codera23
Construction drawing Schindler House

A few years later, Schindler built a beach house for the alternative physician Philip Lovell, the Lovell Beach House – with an open floor plan, living terraces, wide sliding doors and high windows. The overhangs of the generous roof spaces, serve to provide shade. Thus the typical Californian architectural style was born, which influenced an entire generation of architects and is characteristic of the cityscape.

Address: 1242 W Oceanfront, 92661 Newport Beach

Lovell Beach House, ©Library of Congress
Lovell Beach House, ©Library of Congress
Lovell Beach House, ©Library of Congress

Some 20 years later, in the early 1940s, John Entenza of Arts Architecture Magazine launched a groundbreaking project: Well-known architects were commissioned to create low-cost prototypes for model houses. The commissioned builders included Richard Neutra, Raphael Soriano, Craig Ellwood, Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig, and Eero Saarinen. From 1945 to 1966, the program redefined the modern home. Just over 20 of the realized Case Study Houses in the Los Angeles area are open for tours in some cases.

One of them is located in Pacific Palisades in the west of Los Angeles, not far from the Pacific coast: the landmarked Eames House, also known as Case Study House No. 8. Built in 1949 by the designer couple Charles and Ray Eames as their private home and studio and used as such by the two until their deaths, today it is considered a prime example of comfortable yet functional living. The two-story cube of glass, wood, and steel is owned by the Eames Foundation and is open to the public. Behind the coffered windows and facades in black, white and brown is a spacious, open-plan interior. Industrially manufactured materials, such as laminated wood panels and fiberglass, made the building a real innovation at the time.


Address: 203 Chautauqua Blvd, 90272 Los Angeles

Case Study House Nr. 8, ©Gunnar Klack

Another impressive example of Californian modernism is the Stahl House in the Hollywood Hills (Case Study House No. 22) from 1959. Pierre Koenig designed the building as an L towering over a rocky outcrop, which almost seems to float and is still privately owned by the Stahl family. We recommend the Evening Tour, which offers a fantastic panoramic view of the city before, during and after sunset.

Address: 1635 Woods Dr, 90069 Los Angeles

Case Study House Nr. 22, ©mbtrama

One famous name follows the next: The Hollyhock House in East Hollywood was Frank Lloyd Wright's first commission in Los Angeles. The design for the home of the oil heiress Aline Barnsdall was created in 1919 and realized in 1921. The recurring motif is Barnsdall's favorite flower, the hollyhock. It can be found, for example, on pieces of furniture, stained glass windows and the cast concrete facade. As a holistic work of art, the house is individually designed down to every detail and has belonged to the city since it was donated by the client in 1927 and is one of eight Frank Lloyd Wright buildings that are Unesco World Heritage Sites. Guided tours can be booked through the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

Address: 4800 Hollywood Boulevard, 90027 Los Angeles

Hollyhock House, ©Julius Shulman
Hollyhock House, ©Julius Shulman

A building worth seeing that is somewhat more recent is located in the upscale Trousdale Estates housing development in Beverly Hills. Here, interested visitors will find the villa Casa Perfect, built in 1958 by Rex Lotery and David Hyun and once owned by Elvis Presley. More recently, it has housed the California showroom of New York design gallery “The Future Perfect”, which always selects renowned architecture for its carefully curated exhibition. Contemporary furniture, lighting and objects by designers such as Piet Hein Eek, Lindsey Adelman and Ilse Crawford or Chris Wolston, Reinaldo Sanguino and Seungjin Yang are on display here. Along the way, floor-to-ceiling windows open up views of the garden, with a Hockney-style pool and grand views of the City of Angels.

Guided tours bookable via www.thefutureperfect.com/locations/los-angeles/

Of course, contemporary architects have also immortalized themselves in LA. Frank Gehry, for example, created a monument to film producer Walt Disney with the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The concert hall, which opened in 2003, is well worth a visit – perhaps on the occasion of a concert by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, which is based here.

Address: 111 South Grand Avenue, 90012 Los Angeles

Walt Disney Concert Hall, ©Tuxyso

The fact that so many buildings from Los Angeles are world-famous is, of course, mainly due to the architects, but the fact that they appear in films also contributes. The Stahl House, for example, has been used as a location in five feature films and several television series, including Columbo and True Lies. And John Lautner's UFO-like Chemosphere building, which appears to hover over the San Fernando Valley, has been featured in "Death Comes Twice" and "Three Angels for Charlie." Who knows if we won't see the ecological homes of stars like Brad Pitt as movie sets in the future ...

Address: 7776 Torreyson Dr, 90046 Los Angeles

Chemosphere, ©John Lautner's Chemosphere

SIGHTSEEING

No LA trip is complete without a visit to the cult design store Chariots on Fire in Venice, the coastal city with an artist's atmosphere. The focus here is primarily on contemporary works by undiscovered talents, including ceramics by Japanese artist Makoto Kagoshima. Here are the very special souvenirs ...

Address: 1342 1/2 Abbot Kinney Blvd, 90291 Venice

©Eva Grabs

Nothing to buy, but to admire: The Getty Center in the city's western Brentwood neighborhood is the home of the J. Paul Getty Trust, home to most of the J. Paul Getty Museum's collection as well as other facilities. Designed by Richard Meier and built from 1991 to 1997, the museum houses some 50,000 works of art, mostly classical, including sculptures, paintings, drawings, manuscripts and photographs.

Address: 1200 Getty Center Dr, 90049 Los Angeles

Getty Center, ©Grant Thomas on Unsplash
Getty Center, ©Grant Thomas on Unsplash

NIGHTLIFE

With countless cinemas, theaters as well as bars, pubs and clubs, the nightlife in Los Angeles is vibrant and legendary. Not only on the Sunset Strip and Venice Beach, but also on many other streets and squares, the most diverse pubs and establishments open their doors. A small selection ...

©Jeff Pierre on Unsplash

Liquid Kitty (11780 W Pico Blvd, 90064 Los Angeles) plays perhaps the best sounds in town – and serves drinks to match at the bar, while Saints&Sinners (10899 Venice Blvd, 90034 Culver City) is all about the Swinging 70s – right down to the lounge with nightclub.

The House Of Blues (8430 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood) is one of the hottest clubs with live music, but the club in LA is probably the Avalon in Hollywood, right across the street from the classic Capitol Records building (formerly The Palace). The repurposed theater hosts a variety of themed nights, and world-renowned DJs make appearances.

Address: 1735 Vine St, 90028 Los Angeles

GASTRONOMY

Los Angeles is a cosmopolitan city, the gastronomic offer is accordingly – here you will find a good choice for every taste. A few tips ...

©Kayleigh Harrington on Unsplash

Eating at the Terminator: Arnold Schwarzenegger's restaurant Schatzi on Main (3110 Main Street, 90405 Santa Monica) presents Wiener schnitzel, fried sausage, roast beef and also a stylish bodybuilder omelet. Also in Santa Monica is Chinois on Main (2709 Main Street), one of the posh and expensive restaurants of Austrian 3-star chef Wolfgang Puck, who is one of the stars of haute cuisine in America. The concept: imaginative Californian cuisine with European accents. There is also no shortage of gastronomic curiosities: for example, an earthquake is simulated every evening at the Epicentre in downtown LA (200 S Hill Street) – after all, the city lies directly on the San Andreas fault.

Fish and shellfish dishes are best enjoyed right on the waterfront, at the custom-designed 72 Market St. Oyster Bar & Grill in Venice (72 Market Street). And while we're in the city of stars, maybe we'll meet one in West Hollywood at Patina (5995 Melrose Ave.) – where actors such as Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Richard Gere and Kevin Costner rub elbows. The food is made for their wallets – but also for every connoisseur's palate. By the way, you can eat here in the best neighborhood, because the Italian restaurant Ago is also located on Melrose Avenue. Who is the owner? Robert De Niro, whose guests can look forward to pizza, pasta and grilled specialties. Buon Appetito!

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