For Modern Architects, the Future Lived in Southern California

Wait, the Jetsons lived in Palm Springs?

Thanks to the inspired creations of architects like Frank Gehry, Kendrick Kellogg, Wallace Cunningham and their contemporaries, the Southern California cityscape continues to push the envelope when it comes to progressive design. Even in decades prior, many of the greats chose places like Los Angeles and Palm Springs to build their vision of futuristic living.

Los Angeles Magazine recently featured a few of the landmarks that peppered this space age era of design. Here are some highlights.



“This 1960 John Lautner-designed octagonal wonder is supported on a 30-foot-tall pole in the Hollywood Hills (an ambitious solution to the challenges of building a house on a 45 degree slope). Oh, and you have to take a funicular to get to the front door—which you’d think would deter break-ins, until you learn that the home’s second owner was stabbed to death in a robbery.”


Bubble House

“Imagined as a source of inexpensive housing, architect Wallace Neff’s ’40s-era bubble houses were created by inflating a giant balloon and blasting it with spray-on concrete. No joke. Many of them are still lived in overseas, clustered together in what look like Martian colonies. Neff himself lived in the Pasadena bubble for a time.”


Elrod House

“If the concrete disk hovering over the glass-walled living room of this house isn’t a flying saucer, what is? Lautner—at this point the unofficial king of spaceship houses—designed this Palm Springs house to incorporate natural elements into the architecture. The home makes a prominent appearance in Diamonds Are Forever as villain Willard Whyte’s lair and the location of James Bond’s hand-to-hand showdown with two attractive female bodyguards in swimsuits.”

See more here.

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