When people think of architecture in Los Angeles, their thoughts go immediately to The Eameses, Frank Gehry, and Frank Lloyd Wright, among many others. They were drawn to the sublime light of Los Angeles and were inspired by it.
Like anything else, there are downsides to every attractive part of the city. First and foremost, the traffic! If you live in LA, you known traffic is always going to be a problem and parking is even worse. Then, you have to consider the crowds. Los Angeles is a top global destination for tourists. No matter what your site-seeing adventure in LA, there is going to be a crowd and lines. Wouldn’t be nice to avoid the mind-numbing traffic and growing crowds to take in some great design and architecture? Well, the real secret is…pay a visit to Pasadena.
Pasadena is just 15 miles northwest of Los Angeles, at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. Incorporated in 1886, this city of 140,000 retains much of its 19th-century charm. Here are a few examples of places to visit in the Pasadena area to get your design fix:
1. Norton Museum of Art – A private museum founded in 1922 as the Pasadena Art Institute, later becoming the Pasadena Art Museum. Industrialist Norton Simon, who collected European masterpieces from the Renaissance to the 20th century, as well as Asian art spanning 2,000 years, took it over in 1974. It is considered one of the world’s finest small art museums, gaining praise for its renovations by famed architect Frank Gehry.
2. Old Town Pasadena – This 22-block historical area has kept many of its 19th century roots, thanks to historic preservation. It was designated a National Register Historic District in 1983, and remains full of Victorian, Mission Revival and Art Deco buildings that give off a European vibe with its pedestrian-friendly streets and historic alleys.
3. The Langham Huntington – This historic hotel originally opened in 1907 and was redesigned seven years later by Rose Bowl architect Myron Hunt. It added the first Olympic-sized swimming pool in Southern California in the mid-1920s and is now famous for its lovely wooden Picture Bridge, used as a backdrop in movies and TV shows.
4. The Gamble House – The Gamble House was designed as a winter residence in 1908 by architects Greene & Greene for David Berry Gamble, a second-generation member of the Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co. family, and his wife, Mary. It is renowned as an outstanding example of American Arts and Crafts style architecture.
No matter what your travel plans are, Pasadena has world-class design and architectural destinations that will give you a taste of the past, present and the future, all within a compact 23-mile radius.
Check out this video walking tour of Old Town Pasadena.
From the Design Studio
1920’s beach cottage project
sketched by Gerald Olesker