Auto Chek Smog Center | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Auto Chek Smog Center

Southern California certainly has its share of eccentric architecture, from Googie diners to donut shops shaped like giant, well, donuts (what else?). A later, but very respectable, entry into the lineup of Los Angeles oddities is the Auto Chek Smog Center on Kramerwood Place at Robertson Boulevard.

This 1984 building is the first of six Auto Chek locations in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Ana, Anaheim/Fullerton, Manhattan Beach, and Covina. The small local chain sprang up soon after California began requiring smog checks in 1982, and it remains a family operation to this day. 

The Los Angeles location is as intact as any of them, a stepped concrete pyramid with the top lopped off, accented by red metal ladder-like grids ascending at each corner. The pyramid itself contains the office, while an extended concrete canopy spans the drive-in smog check area to meet an angled concrete support wall. The effect is futuristic and more than a little '80s, a Late Modern twist on roadside architecture so popular at mid-century.

 

Photo by Trudi Sandmeier

Sears Santa Monica

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Lindblade Tower and Paramount Laundry Building
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Lindblade Tower and Paramount Laundry Building

This transformation of an industrial neighborhood in Culver City set the scene for Eric Owen Moss's design work for years to come: older buildings transformed with Deconstructivist forms.
Linder Plaza
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Linder Plaza

While its the modest yet forward-looking design may not immediately catch the eye, Linder Plaza's lustrous lines and graceful scale deserve a second look.