Ventura Boulevard, circa 2002. Photo by Gary Leonard, courtesy Los Angeles Public Library

The Valley rocks! Author Kevin Roderick calls it “America’s Suburb.” And it is full of excellent examples of Modern architecture, from the corporate and commercial gems along Ventura Boulevard, to the Ranch homes in Northridge, and everything in between.

The architecture is a great lens to learn about all the growth and development that was taking place in the second half of the twentieth century. At that time, the San Fernando Valley was leading the way in experimenting with new forms of living.

To a great extent, that promise was kept: The Valley offered a uniquely Southern California lifestyle, with just a little more elbow room, a little more ease. The San Fernando Valley represented to many a further refinement of the time-honored American dream –- a home of one’s one, a sunny climate, affordable living, easy access to employment, quality schools, and overall, the promise of a better life –- to live the “Valley dream,” perhaps.

These three virtual tours are a great way to get to know some of the architecture of the Valley. Even better, jump in your car and use your smartphone to see these sites in person.

Valley Ho!

Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

The Valley was the perfect postwar canvas for entire neighborhoods of Ranch Houses, each with its distinct flavor but all evoking an image of rural living in the modern world.

Photo courtesy Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources

Perched over the Valley are amazing feats of architecture and engineering designed by some of the biggest names in Modern architecture.

Photo by Gary Leonard, from Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection

This 16-mile route is rich with twentieth-century San Fernando Valley lore and fascinating architecture to go along with it.