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

  • 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...

  • Comprehensive 'Gehry' retrospective in Paris draws sociological blank

    Comprehensive 'Gehry' retrospective in Paris draws sociological blank

    The ground-floor gallery at the Pompidou Center, where curators Frédéric Migayrou and Aurélien Lemonier have installed "Frank Gehry," a major retrospective that runs through Jan. 26, looks right out through floor-to-ceiling windows toward the sidewalks of the 4th Arrondissement. On both of the...

  • Gehry's Louis Vuitton Foundation museum is a triumph, but to what end?

    Gehry's Louis Vuitton Foundation museum is a triumph, but to what end?

    The personal or private museum, built to hold the blue-chip paintings of a wealthy collector, is more of an American phenomenon than a European one. In Los Angeles alone we have the examples of the Getty, the Huntington and the Hammer to look to, with Eli Broad's Bunker Hill museum ready to join...

  • 'L.A. Plays Itself,' but do films get it right?

    'L.A. Plays Itself,' but do films get it right?

    After years as an influential but rarely screen cult classic, Thom Andersen's 2003 documentary, "Los Angeles Plays Itself," will finally be released on DVD this week. Andersen, a professor of film studies at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, made the movie to protest what he saw...

  • Maltzan's One Santa Fe apartment complex plays with notion of density

    Maltzan's One Santa Fe apartment complex plays with notion of density

    Every once in a while a piece of architecture comes along that is emblematic of a moment in a city's architectural and urban development. One Santa Fe, a 438-unit apartment complex in the arts district by Michael Maltzan Architecture, is that kind of building. It is a fractal of contemporary Los...

  • In Paris, a passion for all things Frank Gehry

    In Paris, a passion for all things Frank Gehry

    Frank Gehry has a significant history in Paris -- and something of a mixed record. He lived here for a year in the early 1960s, working for the French architect Andre Remondet as well as the planner Robert Auzelle. As an established and indeed world-famous architect he returned to Paris to design...

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