House tour: Architectural homes in Los Angeles

Visit these important architectural homes from some of LA's pioneering greats like Eames, Gehry and Neutra.

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  • Photograph: ercwttmn

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Eames House

  • Photograph: John Morse

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Eames House

  • Photograph Courtesy Mak Center

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Schindler House

  • Photograph Courtesy Mak Center

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Schindler House

  • Photograph Courtesy Mak Center

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Schindler House

  • Photograph Courtesy Mak Center

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Schindler House

  • Photograph Courtesy Mak Center

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Schindler House

  • Photograph: Courtesy Historical Society of Southern California

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Lummis House (El Alisal)

  • Photograph: Courtesy Historical Society of Southern California

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Lummis House (El Alisal)

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Hollyhock House

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Hollyhock House

  • Photograph: Courtesy Maloof Foundation

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Sam Maloof House

  • Photograph: Courtesy Maloof Foundation

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Sam Maloof House

  • Photograph: Courtesy Maloof Foundation

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Sam Maloof House

  • Photograph: Courtesy Maloof Foundation

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Sam Maloof House

  • Photograph: Courtesy Maloof Foundation

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Sam Maloof House

  • Photograph: Courtesy Maloof Foundation

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Sam Maloof House

  • Photograph: Courtesy Maloof Foundation

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Sam Maloof House

  • Photograph: Courtesy Greystone Mansion

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Greystone Mansion

  • Photograph: Courtesy Greystone Mansion

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Greystone Mansion

  • Photograph: Courtesy Gamble House

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Gamble House

  • Photograph: Courtesy Gamble House

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Gamble House

  • Photograph: Doncram

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Neutra VDL Research House

  • Photograph: Doncram

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Neutra VDL Research House

  • Photograph: Courtesy Avila Adobe

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Avila Adobe

  • Photograph: Courtesy Avila Adobe

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Avila Adobe

  • Photograph: Courtesy Avila Adobe

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Avila Adobe

  • Photograph: Courtesy Avila Adobe

    Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Avila Adobe

  • Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Frank Gehry House

     

     

Photograph: ercwttmn

Architectural homes in Los Angeles: Eames House

Greystone Mansion

Is the Greystone Mansion haunted? The society that runs it certainly wants us to think so—haunted house tours and a popular interactive play capitalize on the 1929 scandal in which the owner of the mansion, oil heir Ned Doheny, died in a mysterious murder-suicide with his boyhood friend and employee. Doheny’s father was mired in the Teacup Dome Scandal at the time, and the deaths meant that he was excused from testifying; rumors also abounded that Ned, who was married with children, was trying to cover up a same-sex affair. Either way, a tour of this 55-room Tudor estate is a good way to get a glimpse into the lives of LA’s historical 1%—costly slate clads the façade and walkways, the windows are leaded glass and guests were entertained in the bowling alley and two movie theaters. When the home was finished in 1929, it cost a reported $3M, making it the most expensive private home in the city at the time.

  1. Beverly Hills
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Gamble House

Pasadena may think it owes much of its traditional Arts and Crafts style to Charles and Henry Greene, the brothers and architects responsible for designing many of the city’s landmark buildings, but really, they should be honoring Thomas Greene, the architects’ father. He was the one who decided on their profession, sending them off to MIT and then demanding they move out to Pasadena once they graduated. No word on whether he determined their style as well, but no matter who the progenitor, this graceful house originally built for one of the heirs of the Proctor & Gamble fortune remains one of the best examples of their work. Programming at the Gamble House is exceptional—there are tours that focus on things like the art glass or the details and joinery in the house, as well as more casual events like Brown Bag Tuesday, when visitors bring their own picnic lunch to eat on the grounds, followed by a 20-minute tour. However you decide to experience it, don’t miss the remarkable zig-zag staircase, a joyous element that adds a bit of fun to the perfection of the house.

  1. Pasadena
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Neutra VDL Research House

The original Neutra VDL Research House, a living laboratory for architect Richard Neutra’s theories on residential design, was built for $8,000 (including the site!) in 1932; it burned down in 1963 and two years later his son oversaw the rebuilding of an updated version. Neutra was something of a control-freak as a designer—he made recommendations to his clients that included the ideal flowers to display, and would occasionally make unannounced visits to see how, exactly, people were living in his homes. This remodel retains Neutra’s clarity of vision and is still a stunner. Today, this glass-walled paragon of modern design overlooking the Silver Lake Reservoir is an active part of LA’s design community and home to occasional art installations. Each Saturday, students in Cal Poly Pomona’s architecture program lead half-hour tours.

  1. Silver Lake
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Avila Adobe

  • Free

Visit this 1818 home to see what life was like in California when it was still governed by Mexico. This is the oldest standing residence in the city, built by wealthy cattle rancher Francisco Avila, whose extensive 4,439-acre land grant covered much of Beverly Hills and the Miracle Mile district. Built of tar from the La Brea Tar Pits, clay from the LA River and wood from the riverbank, this adobe structure is located near the Zanja Madre (in English, "mother ditch"), the original aqueduct that brought water to the LA River for El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles (the original name of our fair city). Though visitors only see about half of the original house, it’s well-preserved with an interesting mix of Spanish, Mission and ranchero influences.

  1. Downtown
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Frank Gehry House

The neighbors love to hate it, carloads of architecture students drop by to gawk at it: This unexpected intersection of chicken wire, plywood, corrugated metal and traditional Santa Monica house is famed architect Frank Gehry’s actual place of residence. This year the AIA gave it the Twenty-Five Year Award, for a building that has stood the test of time for 25 to 35 years. Rumor has it that when Gehry had a party for his firm here, design enthusiast Brad Pitt knocked on the door and invited himself in. You probably shouldn’t do the same, but you can take it in from the outside. There are no official visiting hours or tickets, but the house is very easy to view from the street.

  1. Santa Monica
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