Christopher Hawthorne

Columnist

Christopher Hawthorne has been the architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times since 2004. Before coming to The Times, he was architecture critic for Slate and a frequent contributor to the New York Times. He is the author, with Alanna Stang, of “The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture.” Hawthorne grew up in Berkeley and has a bachelor’s degree from Yale, where he readied himself for a career in criticism by obsessing over the design flaws in his dormitory, designed by Eero Saarinen.

Recent Articles

  • Is Craig Ellwood's beachfront Hunt House in jeopardy?

    Is Craig Ellwood's beachfront Hunt House in jeopardy?

    According to documents filed with the city of Malibu, the owner of a legendary beachfront house by architect Craig Ellwood wants to demolish it. Last fall, the Malibu Planning Commission considered (and ultimately postponed a decision on) an application to replace the house on Malibu Road with...

  • Visionaries search for key to civic engagement in L.A.

    Visionaries search for key to civic engagement in L.A.

    The 3-year-old house owned by Jeanne and Anthony Pritzker, high on Angelo Drive in the upper reaches of Beverly Hills, is a vast and imposing neo-modern chateau, loosely Richard Meieresque in feel, that holds a notable collection of contemporary art and covers 49,000 square feet. It opens onto...

  • A low-key Facebook building? In Gehry's hands, Zuckerberg has it both ways

    A low-key Facebook building? In Gehry's hands, Zuckerberg has it both ways

    There are a couple of ways to explain how Frank Gehry came to design a very large but surprisingly plain-spoken building for Facebook in Silicon Valley. The first is that the 86-year-old Gehry and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's 31-year-old founder, bonded over a shared appreciation of informal, unpretentious...

  • Chris Burden's architectural intelligence

    Chris Burden's architectural intelligence

    I remember very clearly the first time I heard Renzo Piano describe the new plaza he was planning for the expanded Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It must have been 2005. The Italian architect told me he wanted to create a spacious, classically proportioned space stretching between the museum's...

  • Orioles-White Sox game: Baltimore's urban stadium becomes no-fans' land

    Orioles-White Sox game: Baltimore's urban stadium becomes no-fans' land

    The whiteboard in the Camden Yards press box listed some details about the Baltimore Orioles' fourth home date of the season, a Wednesday afternoon game against the Chicago White Sox. Temperature: 73F. First pitch: 2:06. Attendance: 0. With protests and unrest roiling Baltimore following the Monday...

  • CicLAvia head is stepping down; he discusses event's future

    CicLAvia head is stepping down; he discusses event's future

    Aaron Paley, co-founder of CicLAvia, the hugely popular bicycling and open-streets festival that began in Los Angeles in 2010, emailed me with news: He was planning to step down as the nonprofit organization's executive director and take on a reduced role as executive producer. Since helping to...

  • Consider the social-architectural context of LACMA's 1965 design

    Consider the social-architectural context of LACMA's 1965 design

    It's one of those tidbits of Los Angeles architectural history that can seem minor or hugely emblematic, depending on the context. In April 1965, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art opened its new campus on Wilshire Boulevard, designed by increasingly prolific hometown architect William Pereira....

  • Robert Schuller: A patron of modernist architecture

    Robert Schuller: A patron of modernist architecture

    He began with a drive-in church designed by Richard Neutra located just three miles from Disneyland. Over time he added a telegenic cathedral by Philip Johnson and a shimmering, cylindrical "hospitality center," with an auditorium and cafe, by Richard Meier. Robert H. Schuller, the evangelist who...

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