1. Disney Concert Hall
It is impossible to speak of contemporary architecture in Los Angeles without talking about Frank Gehry’s masterpiece, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Even now, years after its 2003 completion, the building still looks like it was teleported from some utopian future. The sweeping metal exterior does little to belie the gorgeous and acoustically excellent wooden interior. Say what you will about Gehry, but the Disney Concert Hall earns him a place in the pantheon of great architects. Location: 111 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles.
2. The Broad Museum
The Broad Museum in downtown L.A. is a spectacular addition to what is already an incredible arts street. Situated near both the Disney Concert Hall and the Museum Of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Broad still manages to stand out architecturally. The museum is wrapped, almost draped, in a white basketweave pattern with the entrance looking like the facade is being pulled up to let people in. Also of note is an “oculus” which should help fill the building with tons of natural light. Location: 221 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles.
3. Emerson College
Emerson College has long been a breeding ground for some of Hollywood’s best writing talent, so it’s only fitting that the Boston institution should build a Los Angeles satellite campus. The new building in Hollywood was designed by noted architect Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis. The striking structure is unlike anything else in Los Angeles and represents arguably one of the most attractive new buildings to hit the city since the Disney Concert Hall. Location: Sunset Boulevard at Tamarind, Hollywood.
4. Petersen Automotive Museum
With its grand redesign and dramatic new exterior, the Petersen Automotive Museum makes a bold statement. The building, originally designed by Welton Becket for the Seibu company in the 1960s, was never a great beauty, particularly when contrasted with the BCAM building at LACMA across the street, but the new look holds ts own even in such heady company. The ribbon design does a fantastic job of conveying speed and motion and reminds us of the famous Spirit of Ecstasy, usually found on the nose of a Rolls Royce. Location: 6060 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.
5. New Carver Apartments
There is no arguing that Los Angeles is neck deep in a housing crisis. The costs of renting anywhere in the city have skyrocketed and this had exacerbated a challenging homelessness situation. Built by the Skid Row Housing Trust, the New Carver Apartments are an attempt at providing affordable housing to those most in need. The building is made up of 96 units, each a studio with a small kitchen, built around a central courtyard space. The New Carver Apartments offer the disadvantaged a place to get back on their feet with things like Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, etc. and does so without managing to look like a prison. It’s a win/win. Location: 1624 S. Hope Street, Los Angeles.