Exploring Housing Architecture in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, apartment buildings aren’t just apartment buildings. The city, which for a hundred years has been nearly synonymous with the film industry, has been shaped by very eclectic artistic forces throughout most of its history. This is reflected in its famous monuments and iconic theaters, but you will also see it in its housing architecture. While you might be a little too used to two-story courtyard-pool apartment complexes that seem entirely functional, Los Angeles has a long history of attractive and unique architecture. The city is a melting pot of influences, from its early Mexican years to its status as a creative Mecca for people from all around the world. You will soon find that approaching housing architecture in Los Angeles is much more exciting than it might seem.

housing architecture

Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture

If you’ve lived in Los Angeles for a while, you surely have heard this term thrown around to describe a few buildings. What is known as the Spanish Colonial Revival style is an architectural movement that rose to prominence in the early twentieth century. It drew inspiration from the Spanish colonization of the Americas and the vestiges of their structures that were left behind. It found its crib in California, particularly in the larger coastal cities that were beginning to figure out their stylistic identity. It is characterized by the use of stucco walls, low-pitched roofs covered in clay tile, the occasional balconies and porches, Roman arcades, and decorative ornaments or trims that evoke images of Spanish baroque art. Think of the El Greco Apartments in Fairfax or El Cabrillo in Hollywood. These draw inspiration from Los Angeles history to create ahistorical environments.

Art Deco

Art Deco is used to describe a lot of things that aren’t Art Deco, but that’s fairly understandable given how hard it is to define. After all, it’s a mix of many different styles that were big at the time. Modern movements such as Fauvism and Cubism were as much an influence on Art Deco as Ancient Egyptian, Mayan, Chinese, and Japanese art. The name itself comes from the term “Arts Décoratifs”, which refers to decorative arts. The style implements sculpture and painting into the design of buildings, giving them a more interesting and lively look. Los Angeles was and is a museum of Art Deco. The Los Angeles City Hall and the Griffith Observatory are examples of such. The Montecito Apartments in Hollywood or the Park Plaza Hotel in Downtown are wonderful instances of the Art Deco movement in the city, granting ordinary life with a sort of everyday grandeur.

The Possibilities of Housing Architecture

We haven’t even scraped the surface of the Los Angeles architecture landscape. We’d have to go into the Italian Renaissance Revival style seen in the Subway Terminal Building, the International Modernist style exemplified by Neutra’s Jardinette Apartments, or the instances of Beaux-Arts and Classical Revival of the Bryson Apartment Hotel. Los Angeles is a rich canvas of possibility when it comes to designing housing architecture and you can be a part of it too. At RBB Architects Inc. we are passionate about exploring such possibilities with you. If you find yourself looking for the right Los Angeles architects for your project look no longer. Call (310) 473-3555 and let us get started.