Regional Modern: Stunning Innovations in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is home to some of the best modern and contemporary residential architecture in the USA, or even the world. This quality appears from a range of factors: the 72-and-sunny climate and so an embrace of outside living; the dramatic topography, notably the foothills that open to views of L.A.’s plains; a cosmopolitan urban landscape that invites single-family homes as far as apartments and vertical living; and naturally the money that pays for your homes, be it out of Hollywood or other regional industries.

Yet, such as Chicago, the residential climate can be influenced by historical modernists, notably Richard Neutra, R.M. Schindler, and Irving Gill. The last two characters are celebrated in Esther McCoy’s indispensable Five California Architects, which also includes Bernard Maybeck, and the Greene brothers.

Gill softly trailblazed simple unadorned forms before European modernists; R.M. Schindler articulated complex layering of surfaces and indoor and outdoor spaces; and Neutra utilized glass to open hillside homes to grand perspectives, putting L.A. itself on screen. More recently, Frank Gehry has left his mark on the city, affecting architects together with his sculptural designs.

This ideabook concentrates on L.A.’s homes removed from the Pacific Ocean, so another one will feature coastal homes. The inland residences that follow illustrate the several conditions that make L.A. a breeding ground for innovative architecture.

More regional modern structure:
Chicago | Boston | Austin | NYC | New York Metro | Oregon | Seattle | No. California | San Francisco

Belzberg Architects

What better way to start an ideabook on Los Angeles structure than a house that doubles as a location for seeing movies.This second-floor projection doubles as a cover for a seat, putting the car on screen as well. Yet neither screen might not have the ability to compete with the panoramic view to the best, what Reyner Banham called the”Plains of Id” in his classic book, Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies.

Belzberg Architects

This residence by precisely the same architect indicates a similar opening of the house towards dramatic views. Yet here we see another strand of L.A.’s home structure: sculptural design influenced by another local architect, Frank Gehry. While he isn’t solely responsible for this particular facet of L.A.’s regional modernism, his unique mix of dynamic forms and affordable stuff was embraced by several younger architects.

Belzberg Architects

This house combines itself with the panoramic landscape and gifts a roofscape that formally responds to the same. Most striking are cantilevered portions that hit toward the Valley and create panoramic views through expansive glass facades.

Studio Pali Fekete architects [SPF:a]

In the road side, this big house is clearly delineated in three floors: a solid base built into the slope, a transparent middle, along with a wood-clad top floor with windows articulated for solitude and views. This front barely hints at what is happening on the opposite side of the house, which you’ll see next.

Studio Pali Fekete architects [SPF:a]

Wonderful panoramic views of this urban plain would be the result of the architect’s plan. Here we are in the middle, transparent floor, where butt-glazed glass onto the left along with a sliding glass wall to the right supply indoor and outdoor enjoyment of this L.A. experience.

Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

1 architect clearly inspired by R.M. Schindler is Steven Ehrlich, whose carefully written volumes, surfaces, and openings also have influenced many younger architects. This massive house looks smaller by stepping away from the road and articulating the different floors. It’s modern yet tasteful.

Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

At the rear the house is more spacious, orienting itself towards a pool, a standard element in several L.A. homes.

Additionally by Ehrlich, however far removed stylistically than the previous house, is this Corten-steel clad corner house in Venice, near the ocean yet urban because of its immediate context. Bright orange sails shade the house (and pool between the fence and home ) and soften the rust of their steel walls.

Balancing the solidity of this Corten steel and the parallel CMU wall beside the neighboring house are big glass doors at the end of this plan. They lead to a large open living room on the floor that opens to yards on both sides.

Kanner Architects – CLOSED

Like Ehrlich, another powerful architect is that the late Stephen Kanner, that made a varied collection of residential jobs around LA.. This house is austere and closed-off at front. But in back…

Kanner Architects – CLOSED

… an L-shaped plan embraces a large terrace. A great deal of glass allow interior views toward this distance as well as the hills and ravine beyond.

Kanner Architects – CLOSED

Additionally by Kanner, but rather different, is that this office/guesthouse adjacent to a larger residence. The sculptural house responds gracefully to the topography by following its ups and downs.

Kanner Architects – CLOSED

The landscape also closely follows the slopes. Here the steps look like they had been carved out of the stone. The framed view in the wall at the center of this photograph is a nice touch.

David Churchill – Architectural Photographer

This house is located in Sullivan Canyon close ranch-style homes from the 1920s-’50s. Architect Susan Minter broke the house to separate volumes clad in different ways, in effect breaking the scale down of the house. In the front the house is, unsurprisingly, quite closed off.

David Churchill – Architectural Photographer

Yet at the rear, the house at Sullivan Canyon opens itself up to a little yard generated through the L-shaped plan.

Robert Granoff

I am not sure what’s more intriguing in this house, the interlocking volumes (four or three, depending on how one counts them) or the grass paving for your driveway. The first attempts to break down the scale of this three-story house, although the latter allows water to drain into the ground as opposed to into the road and sewer. Back in L.A., where water is scarce and getting more and more of a problem every day, tactics such as these are modest but significant.

Dean Nota Architect

This house on a corner lot articulates a fairly straightforward box with different materials (timber, CMU, metal) along with a cantilever over the driveway. The past, with its wraparound clerestory window and awning window under it, looks like a face looking over the road.


This previous house provides a segue to another ideabook with coastal L.A. homes. Located in Manhattan Beachthis three-story speculative house opens itself on the second and third floors toward the Pacific Ocean. Nonetheless, the design is very urban, reacting to its immediate context through its massing and materials.

More regional modern structure:
Chicago | Boston | Austin | NYC | New York Metro | Oregon | Seattle | No. California | San Francisco

See related

Bask in the Glow of a Copper Fireplace

When you consider aluminum, a humble penny often springs to mind. But copper en masse — shiny and metallic or using a warm patina — is anything but modest.

Copper fireplace surrounds, by way of example, control attention as strong surfaces, yet fit in to any style of decor due to their natural, earthy characteristics. Copper’s malleable qualities allow it to be cut into panels, hammered, wrapped or riveted — the possibilities are nearly endless. In any chosen form, its beauty is flawless and timeless.

Four Corners Construction, L.P.

Against a creamy white canvas, the patina of the copper fireplace becomes a gorgeous architectural focus within this contemporary home.


As well as this hearty wood dining table, the warm metallic hue of this aluminum fireplace heats a cozy dining room. Its reflective quality also adds touch of polish without being too dainty.

Dunlap Design Group

Copper plates include a subtle graphic quality to this darkened living room. Its brick coating pattern harmonizes nicely with different shapes found from the built-in bookcases and striped accent seats.

Feldman Architecture, Inc..

Rusted iron takes on a copper look and provides industrial chic to a contemporary area. The elemental mixture of concrete, wood and metal is a feast for both the tactile and visual sensations.

LDa Architecture & Interiors

The penny-shine of the fireplace surround is just as eye catching as the wonderful exterior view. Its warm hue helps fortify the area’s cozy atmosphere.

Cynthia Prizant – Prizant Design

In case a copper fireplace surround is not an option for you, this wavy metal wall artwork provides a similar impact.

Grandin Road

Outdoor Copper Fire Pit – $299.99

Take your want for flame outdoors with a lava pit pit. This mobile beauty allows you set the mood wherever you choose.

More: A Periodic Table of Design Elements
15 Strategies to Design With Copper
Make Your Fireplace the Focal Point

See related