The bustling metropolis of Los Angeles, as well as its environs, consist of over 13 million people, making it the second largest city in the United States, after New York City. Due to its size and diversity, you are sure to find many beautiful and unique styles of residential architecture around Los Angeles.
The greater metropolitan area as well as many distinct suburbs weren’t always this populated, but began growing significantly in the mid 19th century and into the mid 20th century as more and more people gravitated towards the opportunity and beautiful scenery that could be found there.
Los Angeles is to be the site of the 2028 Olympics, as well as a host of tourist attractions and beautiful beaches that thousands of tourists visit each year. But meanwhile, it’s also home to a fascinating mix of architectural styles both in commercial buildings and in residential areas. Consider the most notable styles that can be seen in the city and suburbs below.
10 Types of Residential Architecture
Los Angeles has many types of residential architecture styles that can be seen around the city. This allows you to be extremely creative when constructing a house, or looking for a house on the market.
Some of the most popular residential architecture found in the city includes:
- Art Deco
- American Craftsman
- Mid-Century Modern
- Mission Revival
When looking to build or renovate a house, it’s important to know the difference between these styles and which styles you prefer.
From there, you can create a home that you’ve always dreamed of.
Adobe homes are found all over the world but most often in dry climates.
Historically they were made of sun-dried mud, so they work well in the dry weather of Southern California.
The first dwellings in Los Angeles were crudely built out of this material, and now adobe has been adapted to the modern age to achieve a unique residential architecture look that recalls the city’s southwestern cultural heritage.
2. Art Deco:
Art deco came into fashion in the pre-World War I years in Europe.
It’s a modern style mixed with opulence and luxury in terms of design and decoration, having hints of ancient cultures adapted to modern designs.
An example in Los Angeles is the L.A. City Hall.
3. American Craftsman:
Craftsman-style homes came onto the architectural scene in the late 19th century and the trend lasted into the 1930s.
Coming after the elaborate Victorian era, the craftsman was a response that instead employed simple, modest styles that were suited for the average American family.
Bungalows in this style can be readily found in Pasadena. They’re notable for the columns that support the roof, a distinct front porch, and eaves that overhang and extend outward.
This style is unique to Southern California post-WWII and was inspired by the Space and Atomic ages that followed the war.
This style is most common in commercial buildings like motels, gas stations, or cafes.
It looks futuristic, using bold shapes, neon lights, and upward sloping rooftops.
For example, this style is found in the Theme Building at LAX Airport.
5. Mid-Century Modern:
The mid-century modern style spanned from 1945-1975 and takes advantage of large windows and open floor plans to provide open space and to integrate nature.
These styles employ flat rooftops and lots of straight lines with minimal slants.
Mid-century modern homes are extremely common in many residential areas of Los Angeles.
6. Mission Revival:
Mission revival styles go back to California’s rich history of Catholic missionaries.
Homes, train stations, and other buildings have been built to imitate the old Catholic missions like San Carlos Borromeo in Carmel and many others.
As a result, they often have adobe walls with terracotta roof tiles. This residential architecture style is common in Spanish-style roofing across Southern California.
For example, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner Building is a mission revival architectural style.
Storybook style homes are truly unique and really do look like they’ve just come from a fairy tale, just as the name suggests.
They will often have turrets, along with pointed, sloping, and thatched roofs.
They’re of a uniquely whimsical design and often have arched doorways, as well.
For example, this style is common within Toluca Lake.
The post-modern style came as a response to the modern trend (as discussed in the mid-century modern section).
The mid-century modern style focused on simplicity and integration; post-modern, however, worked to make designs more complex and intricate.
More design elements are now a part of this style, and it aims to be asymmetrical and use bright colors, as well.
Colonial homes are common across the country and Los Angeles is no exception.
This style intends to mimic British colonial architecture in the 18th century. As a result, there are specific characteristics of this style.
They’re very obviously English in style, consisting of brick throughout, black shingled rooftops, utilizing neat, square shapes to create an elegant, dignified appearance.
Victorian homes are inspired by the Victorian age of England, or in other words, when Queen Victoria was the leader of Great Britain.
This 19th century style was in place from 1860-1900 and often used turrets and classical themes while also including intricate designs and craftsmanship throughout.
Many mansions in the Los Angeles area are of the Victorian residential architecture style.
Finding a Contractor to Build Your Favorite Architectural Styles
Los Angeles has many unique residential architecture styles from the downtown area, to the smallest suburb.
However, if you’re looking to build a home in any of these styles, it’s important to work with a contractor who understands your ultimate goals and vision for your building project.
Because of this, hiring a contractor is a task to avoid rushing and take seriously.
Be sure first read reviews online, and read the contractor’s website (is possible) to get an understanding of their skills, experience, and expertise.
Phone and in-person interviews are also essential; finally, be sure to discuss the finer points of your construction project in depth and to get an estimate before deciding to hire a contractor.
Los Angeles is the second largest city in the entire United States–so it’s no surprise that it boasts many unique styles of commercial and residential architecture throughout the city and its suburbs.
Architectural styles reflect various eras in history and the trends that marked that era; so in choosing a style of home, it’s really up to personal preference and what the prospective homeowner finds visually appealing.
If clean, straight lines and large picture windows are a must, then a Mid-Century Modern may be a great style to choose.
If you prefer traditional rather than modern, a Craftsman or even a Victorian would be great choices. Or if you want anything but traditional, a storybook or googie style dwelling would suit you quite well.
Similarly, if you appreciate California’s earliest history, a Mission Revival or Adobe home would probably be preferable.
Regardless, Los Angeles certainly has plenty of beautiful commercial and residential architecture styles to choose from.