L.A. Architecture

Los Angeles is not always the first city mentioned when it comes to great architecture, but L.A. is home to some of the most iconic buildings in the country and even the world. Here are just a few examples of some of the most recognizable architectural achievements in the Los Angeles Metro area.


Walt Disney Concert Hall


The Disney Concert Hall is a must see for architecture enthusiasts in the L.A. area.  Located at 111 South Grand Avenue, the hall is one of the gems of downtown Los Angeles.  The project began in 1987 after Walt Disney’s widow donated $50 million.  Frank Gehry finished designing the project in 1991, and after a hiatus in building between 1994-1996, the concert hall was finally completed in 2003.  The shiny metal exterior that makes the building so recognizable was only implemented after financial issues caused the planned stone exterior to be scrapped.


U.S. Bank Tower


Also located in downtown L.A., the U.S. Bank Tower tops out at 1,018 feet, making it the tallest building in all of California.  Because of Los Angeles’ history of seismic activity, the tower was built to withstand up to an 8.3 richter rated earthquake.  The project was designed by Henry Cobb and took two years (1987-1989) to complete.  Before being called the U.S. Bank tower, it was both the Library Tower, and the First Interstate Bank World Center.  It has been featured in numerous films and television shows, including the famous destruction scene from the 1996 blockbuster, Independence Day.


Griffith Observatory


The Griffith Observatory is a product of a donation of land by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith in 1896.  He also donated funds to create an observatory and planetarium on the land which he envisioned as a place for the general public to be able to engage with the cosmos.  It opened in 1935 and has remained a popular site for tourists and students of astronomy ever since.


Union Station


Union Station’s mixture of Mission Revival, Dutch Colonial Revival, and Streamline Moderne make it one of the most unique buildings in Los Angeles.  Designed by Donald and John Parkinson, Union Station opened its doors in 1939.  In 1980 Union Station found its way to the National Register of Historic Places, solidifying its status as “The Last of the Great Railway Stations” as it has become known.