Mapping out concrete architecture in Los Angeles
Concrete structures across Los Angeles are charted in a new map that documents the best of the city’s brutalist buildings to visit. Deane Masden, architecture critic and former associate editor of design at Architect Magazine, has curated a selection of architectural highlights from the likes of William L. Pereira, Edward Durell Stone, SOM and Minoru Yamasaki amongst many more.
Los Angeles’ sprawl of concrete constructions is followed for the first time from the driving seat of an automobile, instead of on foot as with other maps from the concrete series – critic Reyner Banham described LA a ‘uniquely mobile metropolis’ in 1971, and it remains so way today.
The cover of the Concrete Map Los Angeles from Blue Crow Media
Ground is covered from the heart of Hollywood, with the Cinerama Dome on Sunset to the First United Methodist Church of Glendale in the north, and other less explored areas of the city – even an interchange designed by Marilyn Jorgenson Reece.
Liberty Savings and Loan building designed by Kurt Meyer, 1966. Photography: Jason Woods
The map shows how concrete architecture has developed across the modern era – how architects have used it to express a multitude of philosophies and building techniques. Plotted on the map, we see the whole range of its uses; from Frank Lloyd Wright’s early modernist concrete block mansions of the mid-20th century, to contemporary concrete structures such as The Broad by Diller Scofidio + Renfro that reveals boundary-pushing engineering techniques.
Rudolph Schindler’s tilt-up houses and John Lautner’s exuberent rooflines show how concrete led the way in defining Los Angeles as a city of ‘case study houses’, allowing architects to experiment with the domestic architectural form.
CSUDH University Theatre Los Angeles designed by A. Quincy Jones in 1973. Photography: Jason Woods
The map’s design follows the format of the previous maps of the series, with red type on grey and black and white photography by Jason Woods, creatively bringing together discovery, travel and architecture into a neat guide through concrete, architectural philosophies, urbanisation and city life. §