Mission Hills Bowl | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Mission Hills Bowl

Located in the San Fernando Valley, the 1957 Mission Hills Bowl embodies the space-age optimism and imagination of postwar Los Angeles. Architect Martin Stern, Jr., a contemporary of "Googie" pioneer John Lautner, was known for his futuristic designs, which celebrated Southern California's modernity and car culture through expressive geometries and bold signage. 

The building is significant for its modern glass and steel design. Most distinctive are its exposed steel beams with circular cutouts, which burst from the side of the brick building in a manner reminiscent of a rocket. 

Mission Hills Bowl is one of several Google style bowling alleys in Southern California, including Corbin Bowl in Tarzana, Covina Bowl in Covina, and Friendly Hills Lanes in Whittier. As recreational and social centers in their communities, these buildings featured exaggerated designs intended to bring modernism to the masses. 

 

 

Martin Stern, Jr. was celebrated for his contributions to Googie architecture in the West. His most famous projects included additions to the Sahara Hotel (1953) and Sands Hotel (1964) in Las Vegas, as well as Ship's Coffee House (1958) in Los Angeles. 

Though Stern was best known for revolutionizing the Vegas Strip, his design for Mission Hills Bowl reveals the excitement and technological advancements of the postwar era in Los Angeles. 

Brunswick Sands Bowl interior
Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Brunswick Sands Bowl

The Sands Bowl's Googie-esque, Egyptian-themed design is a great example of a bowling center in the "California style," with cocktail lounge, sunken dining room, and exotic decor.
Photo by Stephen Russo

Moore House (Demolished)

A striking example of modernism in a city dominated by Spanish Colonial Revival and Mediterranean Revival homes, the design was nearly rejected by Palos Verdes Estates.