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

Ralphs Market

The front façade of this market building by R. Leon Edgar features a combined roof and walls of smooth concrete, bending up from the ground to flatten out and shelter the building.
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Warner Bros. Office Building (1)

What appears to be a deconstructed residential building turned commercial high-rise features a wood post-and-beam structural system like many classic Mid-Century Modern homes but draws on the traditions of the Craftsman style.
Macy's
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Macy's

Engineered to meet the precise aspirations of residents of Pasadena, Bullock's Pasadena (currently Macy's) is a sublime example of a post-World War II department store.