Air and Space Gallery, California Science Center | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Air and Space Gallery, California Science Center

The California Aerospace Museum was internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry’s first major public work. Completed in 1984, the museum is a celebration of California’s history as a leader in the aviation and aerospace industries. It was originally conceived as a giant, hangar-like space. By cantilevering and sloping the walls, Gehry increased the museum’s volume and exhibition space on its narrow site hugging the south façade of a 1913 brick armory. The ingenious use of space and light can be seen as an allusion to the challenges of aerospace design, which also requires the maximum use of a small area and the creation of numerous viewing perspectives.

The California Aerospace Museum is the first large-scale realization of the idea of the "frozen explosion," created though geometric and distinct exterior shapes, which would become one of Gehry’s signature design elements.

The east side of the building is stucco, upright, and rectangular. Pulling away from it is the west side’s angular, seven-sided polygon with street metal cladding. Further emphasizing the idea of frozen blast, a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter jet is suspended in takeoff, angled upwards from the south wall. The late 1950s fighter jet, a product of California aviation leader Lockheed Aircraft Company (founded in Hollywood in 1926), serves as the building’s signage. Following the museum’s completion, Gehry received commissions for high-profile museum and public projects all over the world.

Photo courtesy El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument

América Tropical

This monumental mural by acclaimed artist and muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros was deemed too controversial and was whitewashed within a few short years of its unveiling.
Photo by Michael Locke

Museum of Contemporary Art

With only four of its seven floors above street level, its sunken, red sandstone-clad design is a welcome contrast to the extreme heights of the Bunker Hill glass-and-steel high rise towers.
2-4-6-8 House
Photo by Trudi Sandmeier

2-4-6-8 House

One of the earliest designs by renowned Los Angeles architects Thom Mayne and Michael Rotondi of Morphosis, completed in 1978 and intended to feel friendly for residents, with a do-it-yourself quality.