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 Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Woodland Casual Patio and Rattan

Few Ventura Boulevard Mid-Century Modern designs are as captivating as that of Woodland Casual Patio and Rattan, which is somehow space-age and organic at once.
Lawrence House
Photo by Robert Lochner on Flickr

Lawrence House

Combining the volume of an apartment building with the form and feeling of a single-family home, Hermosa Beach's Lawrence House is a local icon of Late Modern /Deconstructivist design.
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

6500 Wilshire

Cadillac Fairview hired architects I. M. Pei and the Luckman Partnership to design its flagship building, apparently sparing no expense in either construction or materials.