Ranking the best public L.A. architecture of the decade


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In Wednesday’s Calendar section I review the new West Hollywood Library by the Culver City firm Johnson Favaro, calling it ‘one of the seven or eight most impressive pieces of public architecture to open in Southern California in a decade.’

Aside from Walt Disney Concert Hall (2003) and the Caltrans District 7 Headquarters (2004), which I mention in the review, here’s what else I’d put on the list, using an admittedly flexible definition of ‘public’:


-- Santa Monica’s Annenberg Community Beach House, Frederick Fisher and Partners, 2009

-- Inner-City Arts campus in downtown Los Angeles, Michael Maltzan Architecture, 2008

-- Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Safdie Rabines Architects, 2009

Borderline contenders, meanwhile, include Richard Meier and Partners’ Broad Art Center at UCLA (2006); Renzo Piano’s Resnick Pavilion at LACMA (2010); and Lehrer Architects’ Water and Life Museums (2007) in Hemet (with Mark Gangi). Also worth mentioning, though less than entirely public, are Lorcan O’Herlihy’s Formosa 1140 condo building of 2009, located not far from the library in West Hollywood, and a pair of projects by Daly Genik Architects: Camino Neuvo High School (2006) and Art Center College of Design’s South Campus (2004).

Any list of significant commercial and retail interiors, meanwhile, would have to include Barbara Bestor’s design for Intelligentsia Coffee in Silver Lake (2008) and Neil Denari’s offices for the Endeavor talent agency (2005, with wall graphics by New York’s 2x4).

What else belongs on the list? Let me know what you’d add.


Shepard Fairey, street artists brighten West Hollywood library

Review: ‘Art in the Streets’ at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

Shepard Fairey creates music video with indie band Death Cab for Cutie

-- Christopher Hawthorne