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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

  • ARTIC bullet-train station a curious, conspicuous bit of symbolism

    ARTIC bullet-train station a curious, conspicuous bit of symbolism

    Construction will begin next month on the first stretch of California's high-speed rail network. It will run from Fresno to Madera. Earlier this month, a sleek, glass-wrapped $189-million building that officials are promoting as the state's first high-speed station opened to the public. It's in...

  • Christopher Hawthorne's best of architecture in 2014

    Christopher Hawthorne's best of architecture in 2014

    Here is Christopher Hawthorne's look at the best of architecture in 2014. Progress on remaking the Los Angeles River. The feds chipped in and momentum flowed; in a twist unimaginable even three years ago, river backers are now on Gentrification Watch. San Rocco. The architectural journal, based...

  • The future is in the past: Architecture trends in 2014

    The future is in the past: Architecture trends in 2014

    These were the words of the year in architecture: Basic. Fundamental. Primitive. Ancient. If fashion had normcore — the flaunting of a bland, practical and Gap-like aesthetic, the plain sweatshirt as statement of principles — architecture reset itself this year in an even more fascinating (if occasionally...

  • 'Latino Urbanism' influences a Los Angeles in flux

    'Latino Urbanism' influences a Los Angeles in flux

    Work crews in recent weeks have made major design changes to Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, widening the sidewalks and adding planters, chairs and round cafe tables with bright-red umbrellas where rows of parked cars used to be. The upgrades aim to make the street as welcoming to pedestrians...

  • How Arcadia is remaking itself as a magnet for Chinese money

    How Arcadia is remaking itself as a magnet for Chinese money

    Most Los Angeles architects are lucky if they complete two or three houses by their early 30s. Thirty-one-year-old Philip Chan, who runs a firm in Arcadia called PDS Studio, has already seen more than 75 of his residential designs built across the San Gabriel Valley. He's still not the best-known...

  • Koreatown's cool old buildings point to L.A.'s future

    Koreatown's cool old buildings point to L.A.'s future

    A 1941 Los Angeles guidebook described architect Myron Hunt's I. Magnin building on Wilshire Boulevard, finished two years earlier, as an "elaborate new" department store with shop floors "furnished in shades of apricot" and featuring "indirect lighting effects like those achieved by Parisian artists...

  • At 50, Music Center's 'backward' orientation may see a turnaround

    At 50, Music Center's 'backward' orientation may see a turnaround

    If practice is what gets you to Carnegie Hall, as the saying goes, what gets you to the Music Center has always been a car. The performing arts complex, which will turn 50 next month, sits atop Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles like a late-modern, lightly gilded Parthenon of high culture. Beneath...

  • 'Constructing Worlds' exhibit at Barbican explores buildings as neighbors

    'Constructing Worlds' exhibit at Barbican explores buildings as neighbors

    Thirty years ago, the Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri complained that pictures of well-known buildings were often as conventional and flat as mediocre still-life paintings "but executed out of doors." Those images, he wrote, "remind me of photographs of architectural models rather than realized...

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