Archives For Los Angeles architecture

Sherman Residence, Encino, Los Angeles, CA

Three weeks ago The Value of Architecture had the pleasure to host a Twilight Event at Richard Neutra’s VDL Research House II, a designated National Historic Landmark. It was there where we had the pleasure to meet Sarah Lorenzen, AIA, a professor of architecture at Cal Poly Pomona, and partner at the innovative Los Angeles firm, Peter Tolkin Architects. Sarah has been spearheading the renovation of Neutra’s VDL House for the past ten years, and during the event she shared with us some of the work she’s been doing at her firm. Immediately we became enormous admirers.

This is an exciting time for Peter Tolkin Architects. In the coming months the firm will be breaking ground on a pilot project for the State of California in collaboration with Southern California Edison to test the feasibility of a “Zero Net Energy Building”—a building that is off the grid. The project, currently entitled 245 ZNE, and located near Los Angeles’ Gold Line, will be a small medical office. The firm will test the building’s pioneering features, and report data back to the state. 245 ZNE, which features a fabric façade shading structure, a VRF air conditioning system, and photovoltaic panels and batteries on site to store energy, exemplifies the approach of Peter Tolkin Architects—a firm that is simultaneously scientifically innovative and artistic, engineering and design-focused, yet still process-oriented and creative.

Sarah Lorenzen and Peter Tolkin took time to speak with us about Los Angeles architecture, Richard Neutra, modernism, and the role of narrative in their creative process.

TVOA: Sarah, how has the experience been restoring Neutra’s VDL House?

Sarah Lorenzen: It’s been a highly collaborative process. Marmol Radziner helped us with this pro bono since they have a lot of experience in restoring Neutra. We also worked with Cal Poly Pomona architecture students, and some of it my husband and I did ourselves. The city also came out to help us. The LA Conservancy and Linda Dishman were instrumental in helping us to get funds. We had all kinds of people helping: Neutra’s children, a lot of different preservation groups, many architects, many donors, many manufacturers.

The goal was to follow the interior’s standards of restoration and make sure that everything that was original in the house that could be salvaged was just cleaned up and put in, and anything that had to be replaced was replaced with exactly the same materials. The only thing that we altered were the roofs because they had leaking problems. We replaced them using contemporary high-end roofing technology, and they still look exactly the same on the exterior.

The VDL House is also a lab for our architecture students at Cal Poly Pomona to learn historic preservation and the legacy of modernism, the history of Richard Neutra, and to speak to the public about what architecture is and what it isn’t.

TVOA: Were either of you influenced by Neutra when you began your professional careers?

Sarah: Not really. I wasn’t. My interest in Neutra was circumstantial. Since then I would say that it has had a big influence on me, but I wouldn’t say that I started out with a big interest in it. I came out of, and I’m sure Peter did too, a period of education more focused in postmodernism. It was a different kind of education, really not observing the legacy of modernism, but looking at how to overturn it.

Peter Tolkin: I grew up with a father who I would say is a modernist architect. So I was exposed to Neutra at a very early age, but I also think Sarah’s right that there was a critique of modernism going on when we started our education, and I think it still continues today. At the same time, there was a resurgence recently in the marketplace of mid-century modern in major design publications. I think we’re a part of that, but also with a slightly different relationship. What I find more interesting is contemporary architecture—it certainly absorbs the lessons of modernism but also takes it from a slightly different position.

TVOA: How has midcentury modern filtered into your designs?

Sarah: There are a few things. One of the tenets of midcentury modern is the idea that we should have a more relaxed life, connect the inside and the outside, and maximize the use of outside spaces. Also, the notion of dematerialized architecture—when the focus is on not containing spaces but making the most out of the site, connecting the site to the larger environment. I think those things are particularly relevant in California, because of the climate but also the lifestyle. And I think that remains. A lot of the work we’re doing here connects to the landscape and takes advantage of the site itself.

Peter: There are distinct differences though, between our contemporary approaches and midcentury modern. Neutra’s approach, what he sought to embody, was scientific and economic rationalism. In a way the social mission that’s a part of that rationalism is still really important and active, but today there’s been some questioning of that rationalism. Our work is not purely rational. We do seek to create a sense of openness of freedom with our work, but because the constraints are different in our time period, the designs are different.

Sarah: The formal language the architecture has taken has also changed, and so has the thought process.

Peter: Also, because of technological advancements, digital design, for example, we can build in ways that weren’t possible before. And a lot of these ways aren’t purely rational. They could be expressive. They could incorporate sustainability.

There’s a whole new system of rules now too with current zoning codes and laws. So, the things that were done during the heyday of midcentury modern couldn’t be done today unless you were working in a historical preservation like Sarah’s doing with the VDL House. For example, windows today have to be dual paned, which changes the relationship to the light coming in the house, the relationship between inside and outside. Also, the amount of drawings that architects had to do during Neutra’s period to build a house is a small fraction to the amount that are required today.

Sarah: The other thing about technology that’s a little bit different, particularly with Neutra, was the material palette he used. He purposely used inexpensive, off the shelf products. These are products that are readily available but that could be assembled in an interesting way. The goal wasn’t to make unique products. And in some ways, that’s continued in architecture. But the advent of technology has made people interested in what’s possible, like with new fabrication techniques. Our bicycle shed was an inexpensive, off the shelf product, but it’s also using fabrication technology that allows you to bend the material in a certain way to create a new geometry that wouldn’t have been possible before. It’s not using the product as a raw product, but manipulating it to become a new and different shape, a new extraordinary expression of a material that used to be ordinary.

Bike Transit Center

Peter: We can use tools to do something special, something that’s customized, but not handmade. There are just so many possibilities that architects can explore.

Sarah: Also, one of the goals of modernism was to create a universal language, a common culture and style that modern humans share, a globalized architecture that would apply to all people. It was supposed to be exportable.

To some extent that is still true—we live in a globalized world. But there’s also an interest in saying that architecture is a cultural industry, one that is influenced and inflected, either from resources or artistic traditions, from all different parts of the world. The work in this office is primarily interested in being of the time, being contemporary, but we are also interested in how borrowing from other cultures, not appropriating them, can inflect the design in some way.

Peter: We work towards trying to have some kind of synthesis. There’s no such thing as a universal global architecture. That was what they tried to do with clothes. I think that the best work we’ve done, and are trying to do, somehow does take various influences and internalizes them which comes out in the work in some expression or the way it’s actually made or feels. For instance, an early project where I was influenced by another culture was Saladang Song.

Saladang Song, Pasadena, CA

I wasn’t making a Thai pagoda or lifting a motif and putting it on a building. I really tried to look at how a culture could inflect a building but also how it could transform the way we make it. In that case it was a tilt up building, something commonly used in Southern California back to the 1920’s, but also we used technology, such as using lasers to cut steel, to incorporate patterns into the facade. With those two elements coming together, everything becomes transformed. I think that transformation is critical. In Southern California there is a prevalence of an attempted presentation of some other culture. And it’s just appropriated, but not transformed. We try to be open to all the experiences that happen when you work in a city.

TVOA: On your website you have a section for the stories of your projects. What’s the role of narrative in architecture?

Peter: I don’t exactly know what the role is, but I know that it’s been a way of generating the work on some level. It allows for an entry point to the experience of a building. At the same time, I think that buildings are experienced differently, often subconsciously, as opposed to a narrative in a movie or book or telling a story to a friend. When people experience architecture, they try to untangle it. They start to look at the structure, and there’s a moment when the pieces come together.

The best work transcends the boredom of reading a sentence. It’s something you experience and feel.

Sarah: It’s also our interest in the culture of architecture, the fact that we’re looking at so many sources, so many inputs into the design process. To manage all those inputs, to string these elements together, you need to construct a narrative.

Some architects rely on a coherent style, something that’s recognizable project by project: they’re always white or a certain shape. For us, we’re always taking as many influences as possible, but then for us to be able to manage all those inputs, we need to construct a narrative.

The stories on our website are capturing the design process for the public, but even internally in the design process, a lot of it is about constructing a narrative that will allow us to move forward.

Foyer at the Sherman Residence

Peter: That’s an important difference, Sarah mentioned, that a lot of architects have their signature that they do from one project to the next. This office, by contrast, is more interested in the project becoming what it wants to become, rather than being predetermined by an aesthetic outcome. It causes problems from a marketing standpoint because the client doesn’t really know what they’re going to get. So, a lot of the clients we get tend to be rather adventurous. They have to be wiling to go on a journey. For instance, the Sherman Residence is a ranch style house coupled with modernity, and a new project, the Branch House, might have the same elements to it, but I’d say it’s much more contemporary.

Exterior South View of The Branch House

But if you look at many of the arts, I think there is a logic and coherence from project to project—you just have to understand that it’s a process-oriented way to get to that logic. If you look at different artists, musicians and filmmakers, the story or song might be different, but the way they tell it could be the same.

By: David Plick

Do you remember that scene in Terminator 2: Judgment Day when teenage John Connor is driving his mini-sport motorcycle only to become chased by the T-1000 in a Mack truck? Young Connor, thinking he can lose his much larger opponent, enters a sparse and menacing concrete area with a tiny patch of water running through it. Then, of course, in comes the T-800, the future real-life Governor of California, on his Harley wielding a lever-action shotgun in his right hand to save the day. The location for this shoot is utterly depressing, a perfect locale for such a morbid and terrifying exchange.

Yes, of course, this dismal place where robots from the future go to murder adolescents is the Los Angeles River Aqueduct.

In recent years though, the Los Angeles River Revitalization movement has made significant progress in changing all this. In 2002 an Ad Hoc Committee on the Los Angeles River was created, and among the most significant efforts to renew the area was the creation of the Revitalization Master Plan – a plan designed at adding value to local communities through the creation of a secure environment: parks and trails, along with environmental restoration, riverfront living and commerce, job opportunities, and increased neighborhood pride. The Value of Architecture understands that the purpose of good design is living with nature, not against it. This revitalization plan marks an important movement in cities—that, no matter what, we must cohabitate with our natural environment and not force humanity’s hand on nature, no matter how densely populated the area is.

The Los Angeles River Revitalization movement has attracted the attention of some of the top architecture firms in the world: Gruen Associates, WSP, and Mia Lehrer + Associates, to name a few. Recently an Archdaily article offered up plans that include sculpture gardens, promenades in elevated parks and walkways, overlooks and cascading gardens, art installations and galleries, bike paths, and eateries. It’s a reminder that the purpose of architecture and design is to improve the quality of life of citizens. It’s a reminder that even the most affluent of cities, there’s always room for improvement.

LA River Ecosystem Restoration. Source:

No matter what the average Angeleno thinks, the Los Angeles River is the first creator of life for the city. For centuries this was the home of the Tongva and, later, the European settlers first made home there. Today, the Los Angeles river flows through 51 miles of urban areas, through the San Fernando Valley, in Burbank and Glendale, Griffith Park and Elysian Park, through Downtown LA and then through some of LA’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods, such as South Gate, Lynwood, Compton, Paramount, Carson, and Long Beach.

The Los Angeles River Revitalization is a vital step in creating a livable Los Angeles for the future.

By: David Plick

One night in 1934, the Oscar nominated director of Shanghai Express, Josef Von Sternberg, stayed up far too late into the evening with Richard Neutra, whom he had commissioned to design his home, because he couldn’t stop speaking passionately about the intersections between film and architecture. This was not an atypical moment, though, in the life of the Richard Neutra. Meetings with Universal Studio executives, with the surrealist director Albert Lewin, with the Hollywood elite of the era—Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, and Mae West—Richard Neutra hardly lived the life of an average architect.

It was in his Strathmore Apartments, now a featured property at the Value of Architecture, where Orson Welles and Dolores Del Rio began their very public love affair. At Strathmore, Neutra could allow his creativity to truly run wild, as he funded the project himself, and used it as a palette for his more avant-garde urges. Inspired by the Pueblos of the southwest and 20th century garden courts, Neutra sought to fuse public and private life. Even though there is the open garden in the center, Hollywood royalty used it as a getaway. The actress Lily Latte told her partner Fritz Lang—director of the groundbreaking film, Metropolis, to never contact her there because it was her refuge.

Neutra was known to have deep relationships with his clients. To them, he wasn’t just an architect—he was their therapist, confidant, and friend. They would open up to him about their personal lives and he would listen, using these conversations as the backbone of his work. Because of these numerous relationships he had, and of course his designs, which live on today, he’s a large part of Los Angeles history. It’s truly hard to imagine Los Angeles without Richard Neutra’s influence.

By: David Plick

Detroit native William Baker, founder of LAModernHome, moved to California from Chicago in 2005 after his international design company relocated him to the West Coast. After a short stint in Newport Beach, William landed in Los Angeles and immediately felt at home amongst the eclectic modern real estate, diverse cultures, art, music, food, and fashion of the most contemporary city on Earth. Because of his background in design, William has also always been inspired by architecture, most specifically, the famous mid-century modern homes of Los Angeles. In 2006, William bought his own mid-century modern (1962, John L. Pugsley, AIA) in Montecito Heights with Deasy/Penner as his agent. Excited by this process with Deasy/Penner and the energy in Los Angeles’ design scene, William joined Deasy/Penner as a partner, opening up his own office in LA’s legendary Silverlake neighborhood. Today, William brings that same level of design knowledge and sensibility as he represents buyers and sellers of architectural real estate throughout Los Angeles.

Similarly to the properties that LAModernHome and The Value of Architecture represent, William and Brian bring their own integrity, for both design and business, to the process. They both understand that buying a home is often the single-most relevant financial purchase in a person’s life, and they are sensitive to the needs of the buyer or seller, recognizing that this is a delicate time for them. William is inspired by LAModernHome’s alliance with The Value of Architecture, and the thoughtful service that these companies can give to the people of Los Angeles.

The Value of Architecture: So how’d you become interested in architecture?

William Baker: When I moved to LA from Chicago, where I had lived in a downtown Wrigleyville loft with a beautiful, modern design, I realized I always had an urban design focus to my aesthetic naturally. When moving to LA I discovered this new magazine Dwell, and saw that Los Angeles had the most pedigreed architectural property in the world. After that I was hooked, and started attending home tours, seeking out Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, Gregory Ain, Cliff May and others.

Additionally, I quickly learned that you can’t buy as much property in LA as in Chicago. The great thing about mid-century modern though, is its’ great utilization of space, with seamless transitions between inside and out. For example, my house in Chicago was three times the size of my house in LA, but my house here has three distinct outdoor spaces in the design.
Mid-century modern appeals to me aesthetically but also, when it was first conceived, was designed for the masses—something small and affordable for everyone, given that it utilized the space so well. For my own home, because of its uses of steel, glass and wood, and blurring the division between indoor and outside so much, its’ vibe is of a treehouse.

TVOA: Isn’t that everyone’s dream?

William Baker: It’s definitely my dream. I love my house. It was designed in 1962 by John Pugsley, an architect who designed several significant homes in the Pasadena area. It doesn’t have the notoriety as a Schindler or a Neutra, but he designed other compelling gems in LA, and then in San Diego. It’s a small house but it feels bigger.

TVOA: How does the design of your home affect your lifestyle, your behavior and choices?

William Baker: I’ve been in this house for more than ten years and every time I come home I’m on vacation; for myself it’s a sanctuary. I don’t like a lot of visual noise and my house reflects that. When I get home at the end of the day it’s just me and my chocolate lab, Bodhi.

TVOA: Do you consider yourself a minimalist?

William Baker: I have been described as such. My house is only 1,500 square feet, so I also don’t have a lot of room for furniture. What I do have though, is nice—I like quality furniture, from my experience working in high-end interiors for such a long time. But I recently purchased a great turntable so I’m getting back into vinyl. Really, the only thing I have is my dog, and a few cars—I’m a big fan of German cars.

TVOA: And you just went through your own renovation. How’d that go?

William Baker: It was great. I wanted to make a commitment to this house; I had the opportunity to be highly involved in the project and make some cool changes. I wanted to make the house more open, lighter in feel and modern. When I first moved in I installed cork floors, which were period-correct, and chose grey walls, which were all pretty dark. In reimagining the space, I instead painted the walls a crisp white and brought in a light grey, bleached hardwood for flooring, and I opened up some rooms. We ended up ordering too much wood and I installed the remaining on one of the walls, which I think give that room a fresh energy. I completely renovated the kitchen, purchased new appliances and put in this awesome Gaggenau stovetop. The process took a great deal longer than I expected, but the good news with that was I had a chance to sublet a beautiful two-bedroom apartment in Venice for eight months. It became a rewarding process.

This house represents all that’s great which has happened to me since I’ve lived in LA. It was the first house I viewed when looking for property here; I saw nearly fifty homes after it, but this one kept drawing me back. This is home. This isn’t a house I’m going to flip. Coming from the Midwest, not truly understanding at that point LA’s values, the purchase was a leap of faith, and I’ve been able to share that experience with others. That perspective is consistent with LAModernHome and the Value of Architecture. It’s consistent with the type of value that Brian and I bring.

TVOA: How so?

William Baker: Our value isn’t just in selling houses. Our value is deeper than that; it is helping people understand how to maximize the selling price of their house; how to design and decorate, for example. Brian and I are involved in the staging of properties before they’re on sale. We both have a great eye and not a lot of real estate agents do. For sellers, that comes into play when we advise people on this, because of our design experience, but we’re also homeowners doing renovations ourselves. I just completed my renovation and Brian is almost finished with his. You’d be surprised how many real estate agents in town don’t own their home. Brian and I don’t just sell it. We live it.

Real estate affects people’s lives. It’s important to recognize as a realtor that in the moment when someone engages your service significant change is going on in their life. At times the change is exciting for them—someone’s getting married or having a baby, perhaps they’re making more money. But other times it’s not a celebration; for other clients, it’s an unfortunate death or divorce.  It requires us to be a steady, calm influence for them. Our goal is to not only give them incredible results, but also a great experience.

We recently were honored to represent the sellers of the 1925 Rudolph Schindler How House in Silverlake, one of the most significant properties in all of LA and produced a record setting sold result of $2,500,000.

We’ve begun seeing mainstream real estate firms now opening their “architectural divisions”. But LAModernHome and The Value of Architectural were created to function as dedicated specialists in the sale of unique, historic and architectural properties.

As Architectural Realtors, our fundamental goal is to raise awareness of the value of good design, and to assist our clients in maximizing the benefits of a design-oriented lifestyle.

By: David Plick

Roof Modern Facade Building Architecture Inside

Los Angeles receives 292 sunny days annually, while Austin boasts 229. Compare this with New York City or Seattle, which has 152 sunny days, and it’s clear that in both of these climates, where The Value of Architecture is based, sunlight as a natural element is a major part of the design process in their modern homes.

Similarly to painters, architects and designers are certainly no strangers to the study of light. Throughout the design process it’s in their creative consciousness, much like the slope of the land, the way the tree branches bend towards the empty space that will soon possess the house. Great architects, from Louis Kahn to Zaha Hadid, have talked about how they are deeply influenced by light.

“Just think, that man can claim a slice of the sun.”
Louis Kahn

“The history of architecture is the history of the struggle for light.”
Le Corbusier

“Wherever I am in the world, my perfect day begins with waking up and heading to the beach or the pool or somewhere I can be semi-comatose. I just wake up and go to the sun.”
–Zaha Hadid

“Light belongs to the heart and spirit. Light attracts people, it shows the way, and when we see it in the distance, we follow it.”
–Ricardo Legorreta

“Architecture which enters into a symbiosis with light does not merely create form in light, by day and at night, but allow light to become form.”
–Richard Meier

“Light has not just intensity, but also a vibration, which is capable of roughening a smooth material, of giving a three-dimensional quality to a flat surface.”

–Renzo Piano

“More and more, so it seems to me, light is the beautifier of the building.”
–Frank Lloyd Wright

By: David Plick


Water and steel. Two natural elements that seem like utter contrasts, which is perhaps why they work together so well. In this Los Angeles architecture spotlight, I’m talking about Case Study House No. 21, designed by Pierre Koenig for the renowned psychologist, Walter Bailey, which was completed in 1959. This property is currently featured here at The Value of Architecture.

The house came about because Koenig was commissioned by Arts & Architecture magazine and their editor, John Entenza, in the Case Study House Program, which was designed to create innovations in Los Angeles architecture through the use of industrial materials. The program was intended to create inexpensive homes after the Great Depression, and also foster dialogue between architects and the general public. Other homes in this program include: Omega by Richard Neutra, Fields House by Craig Ellwood, and the Eames House by Charles and Ray Eames. Case Study House No. 21 is a registered Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument (#669).

Koenig’s entry into the program came about when Walter Bailey came knocking on Entenza’s door, requesting a 1200-1300 sqaure foot home for him and his wife. Entenza immediately set him up with the young architect Koenig, whom had been working extensively with steel.

The rest of the story is this:

Simple, straight lines.


Open, expansive design that creates a sense of movement.

Water and steel.

By: David Plick

8267996765_2ef43c308a_bThis article is for someone who just became interested in design and wants to know how to analyze architecture. Maybe you just moved to a big city, or you’re thinking about buying a modern home, or you just started dating an architect. At this point you’re probably wondering what exactly are the criteria for qualifying a building’s value? One option is to speak talkitecture and fake it. But, you’re better than that, so read this:

How to Analyze Architecture—questions to ask yourself:

What is the Building Built for?
Not all buildings should have the same shape and size. So, ask yourself, is this a residential, office, cultural (museum, library), or multi-functional building? Is it a government building (which means you’ll resent them spending your hard-earned tax dollars if it’s TOO nice)? Does the design match the purpose? How will the building be used? Does it seem useful?

Materials and Facade
What materials are they using? Glass, concrete, stone, recycled tires, shipping containers (very chic right now)? Is it clear how the choice in materials was influenced by the building’s purpose? How about the facade (aka, the exterior)? Does it seem appropriate for the building’s purpose? Does it have the client’s name in big, shiny gold letters on the side?

More on its Usefulness
If you really want to know if a building “works” or not, you should speak to someone who uses it, like the elevator operator or a tenant (in fact, it’s better if they’re not architecture aficionados because you’ll get an honest, unfiltered response—for example, if it’s a Gehry building, perhaps an architecture enthusiast would be less inclined to note its negative aspects). How does this person use the building? Are there facets of its functionality that they complain about? Like, is the bathroom in the kitchen? Do you have to go to another floor to access the bathroom? Wait—there is no bathroom?!?!? See what I’m saying.

What’s the Surrounding Area Like? Does the Building Fit In?
So, I’ll start with perhaps the exception to this conversation—some buildings are meant to be “disruptive” (did you see that duck up there?). The whole purpose of that design was to do something different. Now, whether or not you support disruptive architecture is a matter of taste, and I will not debate that here. But, you should recognize if that is the intention when you analyze the building. And if not, see if the building “fits in” or not. Now, I don’t mean that it has to be identical or even close to the design of everything else. But, on some level, it should make sense with the rest. Is it of a similar height, width, girth to he rest? A lot of architectural analysts believe that the scale of the building should match the surroundings and respect the natural environment.

So, this is actually extremely important in analyzing a building. We are deeply affected by sunlight, and a building should be designed with that in mind. In fact, how an architect works with light is what separates a chump from a talent. Ask yourself, how much natural light is there projected onto and into the building? Are the windows properly positioned to let light in? What does it look like when light is projected onto it? Overall, what is the building’s relationship with light?

Human Movement
How do humans move throughout the building? On stairs? Escalators? How do they ebb and flow? Would it be easy to get lost? Do you like walking around it or does it give you vertigo?

Get Inside and Play with the Thing
Buildings, to a certain extent, are machines, and machines were meant to be used. Use the machine and see if it feels good. Remember: Mercedes isn’t the best car because of that symbol on the hood. It was the superior engine that gave the symbol its reputation.

By: David Plick

c6ba13787c807e017c62ce4f19f9becd1473441065Whenever people rate the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles so much focus is put on A) proximity to highways, and B) public schools, but to judge Silver Lake in those terms, this contest would just be too easy. Instead, this coveted prize of Best Neighborhood in Los Angeles (which pretty much means it’s the best neighborhood in the world) is based on quality of life. And while it is true that Silver Lake is not an inexpensive neighborhood, it is also not exclusive. In fact, it’s mid-to-upper-range economic sensibility alongside its bobo/hipster style is what makes it so great. Silver Lake is very accomplished, but it would prefer that you wouldn’t bring it up at a dinner party. Instead, it prefers to sit there under the radar, doing its thing, yet, weirdly—it’s still so close to downtown and very convenient. In fact, maybe we shouldn’t post this article, so it doesn’t become uncool.

So, why is Silver Lake the best neighborhood in Los Angeles?

Artistic Engagement.


While it’s true that not everyone at Intelligentsia is doing something important, and many are actually just pretending while they Facebook, it doesn’t matter. They’re there. They look cool and interesting. They’re doing their part in creating this atmosphere that says, “Go make something.” So you do. Or you don’t. (Because maybe you’re one of the ones that’s not doing anything right now—that stupid nine to five job . . .) But you will. You will.

Bobo, but not too bobo, you know what I mean?


The artsy scene here, where being too well-put together is frowned upon, where the cooler answer to “what you do” is, “I’m a journalist . . .” instead of, “I’m an actor . . .” is all very well-known. But it’s also not too in your face. Because there’s places like this: L&E Oyster Bar. No self-respecting dirty hipster could in good conscience truly claim to love a mignonette.

You go to restaurants, bars, and shops because they have character, not just to be seen.


Mohawk General Store, Red Lion Tavern, Lacausa Clothing, Silver Lake Wine, Dream Collective, Foxhole Vintage, Space Station, Vacation Vinyl, Shinola, OK!

Note: did you see the words Crate & Barrel, Pier 1 Imports, or Home Depot on that list?

No one is too cool to love a beautiful view.


Look at this: mountains, water, rolling hills. Would this ever get old?

Oh yeah, architecture.


Silver Lake has the greatest collection of adventurous residential architecture in Los Angeles. With the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright, R.M Schindler, Neutra, Gregory Ain, and John Lautner, a home here sits among architecture royalty. When a contemporary architect designs in Silver Lake they know they’re competing against the best, so they bring their best.


By: David Plick

schindler-chase_house_rudolf_schindler_1922_bThe Value of Architecture is proud to have represented and sold homes this year by two Los Angeles architecture legends: Harwell Hamilton Harris & R.M. Schindler. And on Sunday October 2nd the MAK Center for Art and Architecture will host home tours of properties designed by those two, both protégés of Frank Lloyd Wright, and four other mid-century modern masters: Raphael Soriano, Gregory Ain, John Lautner, and James DeLong. Tickets are $90.

Here are some of the designs that you will see on the tour!

Lipetz House (Raphael Soriano, 1936)

Via flickr by J Jakobson

Via flickr by J Jakobson

Orans House (Gregory Ain, 1941)

Via flickr by Kansas Sebastian

Via flickr by Kansas Sebastian

Jules Salkin House (John Lautner, 1948)


Alexander House (Harwell Hamilton Harris, 1940-41)


By: David Plick

Via flickr by Jay Sterling Austin

Via flickr by Jay Sterling Austin

Located at 221 South Grand Avenue in Los Angeles, the Broad Museum is one of the most highly anticipated architectural projects of 2015. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the NYC-based firm who brought us The High Line, there was great hype with The Broad Museum due to its pivotal location in LA’s architectural scene. After all, in addition to being right around the corner from MOCA Grand Avenue, who’s The Broad’s other loud and impolite next door neighbor? No one other than Frank Gehry’s divisive Walt Disney Concert Hall.


Overall, the reviews lean towards the positive. Architectural Record’s Sarah Amelar called the building “exciting yet incongruous . . . the belief-suspending exhilaration of a theme-park ride . . .” How do the other critics weigh in?

LA Times, Christopher Hawthorne

“It . . . has moments of real charm . . . [yet] for all its imaginative talent, is still figuring out how to shepherd its boldest design ideas through a challenging construction process, so they emerge fully and powerfully intact.”

Curbed, Alexandra Lange

“Critics searching for what the Broad looks like aren’t searching the skies or the waves, but the supermarket aisles . . . [It] is a fascinating museum experience, but one which doesn’t quite achieve the ends of its architects or its patrons. I see its design as a move toward a completely artificial, hands-free architecture, but as a construction culture we are not quite there yet.”

The Washington Post, Philip Kennicott

A space for art that respects the experience of looking and engagement, as a thing apart, and something worth leaving the world behind to do on its own terms.”

Wall Street Journal, Julie V. Iovine

“Though too eccentric to be an enduring touchstone work of architecture, the building deserves to be celebrated for a bravado and smart urbanism.”

The Broad is a FREE museum open everyday except Monday and houses works from such artists as: Carl Andre, Jeff Koons, Jasper Johns, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barbara Kruger, Roy Lichtenstein, and Chuck Close.

By: David Plick