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California's Newest Architectural Gems

Design Trends

Architecture in Los Angeles has always helped to define and display this city's cultural heritage. Whether it be a modern museum or a Craftsman bungalow, everywhere you turn you see a building that tells a story. Over the past year, there have been a number of significant architecture sites designed and built in the City of Angels, with more to open in 2015. These innovative structures signal a renewed sense of commitment to social and environmental responsibility, while re-shaping the city's skyline. These designs are utilizing new technology, becoming more dense and vertically-built, while also preserving the historic character of the city.

Exterior of The Broad from 2nd Street and Grand Avenue. Image courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio+Renfro.

The Los Angeles firm Morphosis has completed a new Hollywood campus for the performing arts school Emerson College, where a rectangular frame surrounds a curvaceous cluster of classrooms. Situated in the heart of the entertainment industry, on the iconic Sunset Boulevard, Emerson College Los Angeles becomes a multi-faceted venue for student films,, screenings and events, with the Hollywood sign, the city of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean providing added scenery. The campus is also eco-friendly, with the east and west-facing sides of the building screened by an intelligent shading system where horizontal fins angle open or closed to suit changes in light, temperature and the angle of the sun.

Image courtesy of Emerson College. Photo by Iwan Baan.

Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, a 13-story high-rise hotel, has helped to revitalize the southern Historic Core of downtown and resurrect Broadway to its golden age. Built in 1927, the structure housed the flagship movie palace of the United Artists Corporation, the pioneering independent film studio. The property features 182 guest rooms, a restaurant and bar, and a gorgeously renovated theater that seats 1,600. The hotel's design team stripped the building down to its concrete, restored its intricate designs, and refashioned it with local art, making the hotel as eclectic and vivid as Los Angeles itself.

Images courtesy of Ace Hotel

The Broad, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is a new contemporary art museum located in Downtown Los Angeles, opening to the public in 2015. Dubbed “the veil and the vault," the museum's design merges the two key components of the building: public exhibition space and archive/storage. The archive space, dubbed “the vault", is a hovering mass midway in the building. It's carved underside shapes the lobby below, while the top surface is the floor plate of the exhibition space. The vault is enveloped on all sides by the “veil," an airy, honeycomb-like structure that spans across the gallery and provides filtered natural daylight. A public plaza adjacent to the museum will also be constructed, adding critical green space to Grand Avenue. The Broad will play a key role in the urbanization of Grand Avenue and Bunker Hill.

35,000-square-foot, column-free third floor gallery. Image courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio+Renfro.

Illustration of the two main components of the building - the veil and the vault. Image courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

The Wilshire Grand Center, a new hotel in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles designed by AC Martin, is set to open its doors to the public in 2017. The Wilshire Grand Center will be the tallest structure west of the Mississippi, adding to the rich cultural and economic revival of Downtown. The design responds to the Los Angeles culture and climate with an open, energetic environment where indoor and outdoor relationships are created. At 73 floors and 1,100 feet tall, including the spire, the tower will be capped by an iconic sail-shaped architectural feature that will be illuminated with LED lighting at night, while boasting an unique 70th floor sky lobby. It will give downtown Los Angeles a new identity, dramatically reshaping the downtown skyline.

Grand Wilshire. Images courtesy AC Martin.

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2014 with a redesign of its interior and a complete transformation of its exterior facade to create a world class museum that will showcase the art, experience, culture and heritage of the automobile. The exterior design by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates will give the Petersen a truly unique and iconic look with flowing bands of stainless steel enveloping three sides of the red structure. The steel ribbons will be backlit by LEDs day and night, reminding visitors of a blend between a hot rod flame job and cartographical topography. The project will also add another 15,000 square feet of display space inside, with new galleries and digital displays focusing on cars and the car culture in Southern California and around the world.

Image courtesy of Petersen Automotive Museum.

All Photography used with permission.