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Best LA Buildings: And Don't Forget All These Guys

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Following a look at the top 10 buildings of the decade, let's move on to the fun part. The adults are gone, time to crank up the music and party! And check out the runner-ups, the buildings and trends that played a part in Los Angeles in the 2000s.

Like the Top 10, we weighed such factors such as architecture, neighborhood influence, and cultural impact when picking out these buildings. And while the Top 10 stuck to Los Angeles, there are trends worth pointing out in West Hollywood and Santa Monica, too. Let's meet these stragglers. On to the list of runner-ups...

Lukewarm on the Outside, Most Surprising Interior: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels by Rafael Moneo.

From the outside it could easily be mistaken for an AT&T switching station, but it's hard to deny the appeal of the warm alabaster interiors. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, the LA Times called the building, which opened in downtown in 2002, "a landmark of remarkable architectural intelligence."

Could Have Been a Contender, Great Unbuilt Buildings that Stalled, Died or Disappeared: Children's Museum of Los Angeles by Sarah Graham of Angelil/ Graham/ Pfenninger/ Scholl Architecture.

The concrete modernist structure broke ground in Lake View Terrace in 2005 and was supposed to be completed by 2007. It could have been the most significant building in the Valley in the 00s, but ultimately its white knight and biggest benefactor, Bruce Friedman, was reportedly charged with securities fraud for swindling seniors. Other potential neighborhood changers: Crenshaw Gateway, Grand Avenue Project.


[Biscuit Lofts]
Making a Neighborhood Out of Nothing: Biscuit Company Lofts, converted by Aleks Istanbullu Architects.

Developer Linear City took a gamble when it transformed the old National Biscuit Company building into luxury lofts in 2006. Drawing parallels to the development of New York’s Tribeca—on just the wee-est of scales--their transformation of a block in the industrial area attracted wealthy loft dwellers, and ultimately restaurant Church & State, which moved to the bottom of the building. Additional notable downtown rehabs and renovations: Eastern Columbia, San Fernando Building.


Buildings That Won’t Make You Fear the Needle: Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center by Pei Partnership Architects.

Opened in the summer of 2008, this teaching hospital ranks as best on the West Coast by US & World Report. The facility, which replaces a nearby hospital damaged by the Northridge quake, was built with more than 3 million pounds of Italian travertine marble, a gift from a “grateful patient,” according to a press release.

Best Architectural Reason to Drive to Santa Monica: Santa Monica Civic Center parking structure by Moore Ruble Yudell.

The 2007 building's multi-colored glass and photovoltaic panels have brought the city out of its shameful turquoise-colored parking past. Other reasons to venture to Santa Monica: Annenberg Community Beach House, 2009, Frederick Fisher and Partners; Mia Lehrer & Associates.


I Voted! For Good Design, Literacy: Prop DD, Library Construction Bond.

Voters approved the 1998 bond, that together with an earlier bond, paid for the largest library infrastructure improvement project in the nation. Of the more than 20 libraries either built or restored: The 2008 Exposition Park-Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Library by Tetra Design; the 2009 Silver Lake Library by M2A Architects; the 2003 Chinatown Branch Library by Carde Ten Architects; Hodgetts + Fung's Hyde Park Library, 2005.



[Photos: United Oil image via Kanner Architects; Helios House image via Johnston Marklee]
Gas Stations of the Future Distract You From Thinking About Dying Polar Bears: United Oil by Kanner Architects; Helios House by Johnston Marklee and Office dA.

The 2009 (but was supposed to be 2007) United Oil at the corner of La Brea and Slauson looks straight out of the Jetsons with its long, swooping canopy. The 2007 Helios House at Olympic and Robertson has a canopy mosaicked in stainless steel triangles and that catches rainwater for recycling. Sure, we're still pumping our cars full of gas, but we're doing it so stylishly.


Smaller is Better, Building Trends: West Hollywood's small condo trend.

Why should that city have all the petite fun with Lorcan O’Herlihy’s 2008 1140 Formosa and 2007 Habitat 825, Aleks Istanbullu Architects' 2009 1200 Sweetzer, and Pugh + Scarpa's 2008 King on Kings? LA is catching up on the tiny trend via the small lot ordinance, which has given the city the 2007 Maltman Bungalows in Silver Lake by Drisko Studio and 2009's Rock Row in Eagle Rock by Heyday Partnership.


Best Architectural Bloat, Plus a Ghost Box: High School for the Visual and Performing Arts by by Coop Himmelb(l)au.

The 2009 school (Curbed nicknamed it Buck Rogers High) is the most extravagant of the buildings built in the late '00s, with its kooky structures clad in polished metal (some of which are useless) and vast expanses of concrete. The excesses of the LAUSD were betrayed in its $232 million cost. And the precious box sits empty.


The Amazing Invisible, Energy-Efficient House: Solar Umbrella House by Pugh + Scarpa.

Proving it is indeed possible to marry affordability, sustainability, and high design, architects Larry Scarpa and Angela Brooks' 2005 remodel of a 1920s Venice bungalow was at the forefront of solar design strategies. Inspired by Paul Rudolph's Umbrella House of 1953, it's almost 100% energy neutral, cost less than $400,000 to remodel, and--spoiler alert--appears to have no walls, no windows, and no roof. Hey, we said appears, since it has all of those things, and 89 amorphous photovoltaic panels for energy.


The Building’s Nice, But How About that New Block: LAPD Headquarters by AECOM.

The LAPD's just made it as an aughtie--the building opened in October 2009. Despite being fortified against snipers, the design has made the site more accessible to civilians: All the chatter among downtowners and the office monkeys is about how nice it is to cross the LAPD plaza--even if they have to stare at animal butts aka Peter Shelton's sculptures on the way back from Pitfire Pizza.



[Photos: Endeavor image via Neil M. Denari Architects; 2000 Avenue of the Stars image via Gensler]
Proof that LA Architecture is Straight Outta “Entourage”: Endeavor Talent Agency by Neil Denari; 2000 Avenue of the Stars by Gensler.

Endeavor had their 2004 bright white and graphic space in the Charles Luckman building in Beverly Hills and CAA had their foreboding 2007 building (immediately nicknamed the Death Star) in Century City. Now agents, Gensler, and Denari are going round two at the William Morris Endeavor building under construction in Beverly Hills (WME wants out).
---List compiled by Curbed Staff