California is well-known in the United States for having a distinct culture that sometimes greatly differs from the rest of the country.
Many of the buildings and structures in the Golden State’s biggest cities are a reflection of this cultural difference.
Los Angeles is the most populated city in California that’s full of iconic buildings, towering skyscrapers and historic sites that are among the most famous in America.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 of the most famous buildings in Los Angeles and the architects behind each one, as well as some information about each structure’s style and construction.
Famous Buildings in Los Angeles
1. Walt Disney Concert Hall
The area of downtown Los Angeles is filled with massive, beautifully-decorated buildings that sit adjacent to some of the city’s most historic sites.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall is perhaps the most extravagantly-designed building in the Los Angeles downtown area, as well as the city as a whole. The concert hall is one of the most historic sites in the city that draws a considerable number of visitors each year.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall was designed by prolific architect and sculptor Frank Gehry, who is known to have designed many of the modernist-style buildings across the country.
Also Read: Famous Landmarks in California
Construction on the concert hall began in 1999 and Gehry and his team of architects worked for 4 years before finishing the project in 2003. The swirling, silver-colored architecture of the exterior is what makes the Walt Disney Concert Hall one of the most iconic structures in Los Angeles.
The building now serves as the home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra, as well as the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Lillian Disney, the daughter of Walt Disney, made a $50 million gift to the city of Los Angeles for the construction of the building.
2. Bradbury Building
The Bradbury Building is one of Los Angeles’ most iconic and historic buildings. Located on the corner of West 3rd Street and South Broadway, the Bradbury Building is a 5-story office building that was built during the late 19th century.
Much of the attraction related to the Bradbury Building is that it still has the same interior and exterior decoration and architecture.
The building was commissioned by Lewis L. Bradbury and designed by Sumner Hunt, a notable architect during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Plans to build the structure began in 1892 and construction started shortly after that same year.
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The Bradbury Building was completed and opened one year later in 1893 and it quickly became a hit with local residents and companies in the Los Angeles area.
The Bradbury Building exists today in a state that is virtually identical to what it existed as when it was constructed. Many people in the city come to visit the building for its historic appeal and.
Over the years since it was built, the Bradbury Building has become a notable historic site that’s recognized on a local and national level.
3. Getty Center
One of the most famous buildings in Los Angeles from an architectural standpoint is the Getty Center. Located on the Getty Museum campus, the building sits atop a hill overlooking the California coast, as well as the city itself.
The Getty Center was designed by Robert Irwin, who is one of the most celebrated architects in the country. Irwin worked alongside Richard Meier, who was also a highly-celebrated architect.
The Getty Center was built on the site of J. Paul Getty’s former home. Getty was a prolific oil company owner who was known as a notable philanthropist in the Los Angeles area.
Also Read: Buildings in California
The building’s construction was started in 1989 and the project was carried out by the Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company. The center was finished in 1997 and it has since become a notable architectural work of art among many of the other buildings along the Golden State coast.
In the years since the museum opened to the public, it has become a major tourist destination for those interested in architecture. The museum today contains a wide variety of sculpture, paintings, literary and decorative works that draw a considerable amount of visitors each year.
4. Griffith Observatory
One of the Los Angeles area’s most visited buildings is the Griffith Observatory. The observatory sits on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood and provides visitors with a spectacular view of the California coast, as well as the Hollywood sign and the city of Los Angeles.
The Griffith Observatory was designed by John C. Austin and Frederick M. Ashley, both very respected architects who were known for their work in producing such works across the United States in the early 20th century.
Also Read: Famous Landmarks in Los Angeles
The Griffith Observatory was built beginning in the summer of 1933 and the project took a total of two years before it was fully finished and opened in 1935.
The observatory was named after its benefactor, Griffith J. Griffith a Welsh-born industrialist and philanthropist who was responsible for developing much of Los Angeles during the late 19th century and early 20th century.
The building’s design makes it stand out among the other structures sitting along the side of Mount Hollywood. It has served as a major tourist attraction in the decades since it was finished and anyone visiting the Griffith Observatory is allowed to enter for free, according to the wishes of Griffith.
5. Capitol Records Building
Hollywood is filled with culturally iconic buildings that are connected to the film and music industry in the United States.
One of the most famous buildings in this section of Los Angeles is the Capitol Records Building, which sits on the corner of Hollywood and Vine boulevards. The building is one of the most iconic in the city and was designed by Welton Becket and Associates.
Construction on the building began in 1955 and the project was completed a year later in 1956. The 13-story building comprises office space for Capitol Record’s West Coast operations.
Since its construction, the Capitol Records Building has become one of the most historic structures in Hollywood and Los Angeles. It was deemed a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.
When the building was constructed, it was recognized as the “world’s first circular office building.” The Capitol Records Building has since become one of the biggest tourist attractions in Hollywood and its distinct architectural style and appearance draws millions of people each year.
6. Los Angeles City Hall
Los Angeles is filled with iconic buildings that each have their own architectural style and appeal. The Los Angeles City Hall is one of these structures that’s easily distinguished from many of the other buildings surrounding it.
The Los Angeles City Hall is the main building for all of the city’s governmental functions in Los Angeles, but it’s also one of the city’s most famous structures.
The building was designed by John Corneby Wilson Austin, John and Donald Parkinson, and Albert Carey Martin, who were all notable architects during the early 20th century.
Construction on the building started in 1926 and the project was completed two years later in 1928 with the Los Angeles City Hall opening that same year. It’s recognized as one of the largest and most elaborately-designed city hall buildings in the United States.
In addition to serving as the main building for all of the city’s legal and municipal activities, the building is a major tourist attraction.
The top of the building, on the Los Angeles City Hall’s 27th floor, features the Observation Deck and Tom Bradley Tower, which makes the building one of the most heavily visited public structures in the country.
7. Theme Building
One of the most unique structures in Los Angeles is one that many millions of visitors to the city see upon their arrival.
The Theme Building is one that is designed with a modernist style and appears, in many ways, to be a futuristic building located at LAX, which is Los Angeles International Airport. The building was designed by James Langenheim of Pereira & Luckman Architects.
Construction on the building began in 1959 and it was dedicated a few years later after it opened in 1961 by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Inside the main part of the building once was home to a large restaurant, which sat on a rotating floor that slowly turned around, giving patrons and visitors a view of the Los Angeles skyline as they dined.
The Theme Building features long legs that loop overhead and connect to the main floor of the interior. This building attracts many visitors today and it is now used as a visitation destination for those traveling into and out of the airport. Inside the Theme Building is one of Los Angeles’ most popular restaurants, the Interior of Encounter Restaurant.
8. Eastern Columbia Building
One of the city’s most well-known residential buildings is the Eastern Columbia Building, which is located in the Broadway Theater District of Downtown Los Angeles.
The building was designed according to the Art Deco style by Claud Beelman, who is recognized as one of the most prominent American architects who worked in the Art Deco and Beaux-Arts styles.
Construction on the Eastern Columbia Building began in 1929 and the project was quickly finished later the next year in September of 1930.
The building’s interior is known for its elaborately decorated main halls and elevator shafts, which feature much of the same type of architecture and design elements of 1920’s and 1930’s America. The Eastern Columbia Building is nestled in the Historic Core of Los Angeles.
Many of the surrounding buildings are designed in the same style and have been maintained much in the same style they were when constructed in the early 20th century.
Since it was completed, there have been many renovation projects to restore and maintain the historic nature of the Eastern Columbia Building.
9. Union Station (Los Angeles)
Another one of Los Angeles’ most popular transportation hubs is the Union Station (Los Angeles). It is recognized as the largest railroad passenger hub in the western United States and is also one of the largest in the world.
The building was designed by John and Donald Parkinson, who were two of the most prominent architects in the United States at the time.
The project was somewhat controversial when it initially came up for vote in the local municipal bodies as the station was going to consolidate all of the rail services into one central location.
Construction on the Union Station (Los Angeles) started in the late 1920’s and the project took nearly a decade before it was completed and opened in 1930. The station was designed according to the Art Deco, Mission Revival and the Streamline Moderne.
Today, the Union Station (Los Angeles) is one of the busiest train stations in the country. It serves more than 100,000 passenger per day and also is one of the main tourist destinations for those interested in the history of Los Angeles.
The buildings distinct aesthetic is done in a southwestern style that matches the architectural designs found in Mexico and other Central American countries.
10. Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
One of the most well-known cathedrals built in the United States that is constructed according to the modernist style of architecture. The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is located in the heart of Los Angeles near the Little Tokyo Historic District.
It was designed by Rafael Moneo, a prominent Spanish architect who is known for working in modern architectural style.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels was a project that had been planned for decades and was meant to replace the existing structure, which was the Cathedral of Saint Vibiana.
The existing cathedral was badly damaged in a fire and repairs were needed, but the church’s officials decided to move forward with the construction of the new cathedral.
Work began on the project in the summer of 1998 and the project would take another four years before it was finally completed and opened to the public in 2002.