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.

 

Lingenbrink Shops
Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Lingenbrink Shops

Its modern bones still apparent under new signage and canopies, this small shopping complex prefigured the now-common typology of the strip mall.
Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Bunker Hill Steps

The ties between downtown L.A. and its Bunker Hill origins have been tenuous at best. The Bunker Hill Steps, built in 1989, aimed to remedy that.
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Al Struckus House

Embodying architect Bruce Goff's philosophy of organic architecture, which held that each design should be as unique as its owner, the building undeniably reflects the architect's "gonzo flair."