Los Angeles is known for many things… and like most major cities, it has its share of iconic buildings. Having always been a fan of architecture and design, I’ve had the good fortune to see quite a few of LA’s major architectural moments in person. However, LA is a vast wonderland and especially living down in Orange County (about an hour south), it’s hard to be able to see EVERYTHING. So, when the kind folks at COS recently invited me to attend a special architectural tour event, I of course immediately jumped at the opportunity!
COS partnered with The Gentlewoman Magazine to produce a series of sister architectural tours. One in Los Angeles, and one in London, called “Glimpses of The Future.” Since there are so many potential sites to see, they curated it down to just a few. The intention was to highlight buildings, both larger scale as well as residential, where the architects had envisioned what life would be in the future. Now that we are in that “future”, it brings up an interesting discussion and perspective on what ended up working and maybe what didn’t. It’s a topic I’ve been completely fascinated with for awhile and have actually been exploring with my own side project, The Octopian, (but I’ll save that for another day!)
The LA tour covered five of the places listed on their guide. I was really excited about this tour because out of the 5, I had actually only been to one of them before. All the rest have been on my architectural bucket list! Renowned architectural expert and lecturer Joe Kerr headed up the tour and gave great insights and commentary at each stop. We began by meeting up at the brand new COS store in Downtown LA. If you haven’t been yet, it’s a beauty, taking over one of the oldest movie theaters in LA.
From there we went to The Bradbury Building. I’m sure you’ll recognize it. It’s been featured in countless movies and music videos, including Blade Runner, 500 days of Summer, and Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation music video. It’s hard to imagine what people must have felt walking into this space for the first time when it was built in 1893. From the outside, it’s just an unassuming brick building. But once you step inside, you can’t help but be wowed as you look up into the wash of natural light from the skylights and see the stunning ironwork. Truly magical.
Next, we went down just a few blocks to the what’s become a new symbol of downtown, the Frank Gehry designed Walt Disney Concert Hall. The curved metal facade is such a testament to the advances in technology and is signature Frank Gehry.
After seeing two large architectural marvels we then scaled things back and visited something much smaller and intimate in scale, but nonetheless equally as iconic… we went westward towards the ocean and toured the famous Eames House!
I’ve seen so many pictures of this home but to see it in person was really such a treat. They’ve done such an amazing job of preserving it exactly how they lived in it. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to go inside or take any shots of the interior, but you were able to peak your head in to get a better look. Talk about #housegoals!
After the Eames house, we took a jaunt over to another house. This time we stopped by the Frank Gehry residence in Santa Monica. It’s so fascinating to see his early experimentation on his own home and then contrast that with his later works, such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall that we saw earlier.
Finally our last stop was another iconic home that I’m sure many will recognize. It’s known as the “Sheats/Goldstein” house. It was also the only house on the tour that I had the privilege of visiting before. Way back in a past life, I was able to hang out in this home for a photoshoot, but if you’re a movie buff, this home was prominently featured the cult classic, The Big Lebowski. It’s also been the setting for countless fashion editorials. Designed by John Lautner, this home is the embodiment of Hollywood sexiness.
And I mean the view?!!
If you’re curious about all the locations, The Gentlewoman has all of them listed in a little booklet that is available in the current issue of the magazine, and COS has them listed here. You can also find out see more shots here and here.
Photos by Jonathan Lo / happymundane. Additional photos by COS.