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Architectures of Southern California: General resources

Recommended resources on the architectures of Southern California, historic to contemporary, and related topics, providing location info for print resources and links for digital resources.

Recommended books

Recommended articles

Arts & Architecture magazine began as California Arts & Architecture in 1929, but it became the unsurpassed magazine of Southern California modernism after John Entenza became the editor in 1940. The A&A website provides PDFs of issues from 1945-1967. The Kappe Library has the Taschen 2008 reprint of 1945-1954 and original issues for 1944-June 1946, 1947-8, 1952-5, 1957-67. Ask at the Office.

Recommended image resources

Architectural Teaching Slide Collection, USC Digital Library (Features the Fritz Block and Pierre Koenig collections)

LA Public Library Online Photo Collection  (Searchable database of historic news images from Southern California)

Other resources

A.I.A. Los Angeles Architects Directory

DTLA Rising, published by Brigham Yen (real estate blog tracks downtown business development, including new retailers, restaurants, theaters, etc.)

The Kappe Library Research Guide: Southern California urbanism

L.A.Curbed, Vox Media (“The Los Angeles neighborhoods and real estate blog” since 2005)

Los Angeles Architecture 1940-1990  (Getty Research Institute)

Los Angeles Times Historical Archive (Available at public libraries, currently covers 1881-1994)

MapLA, by AIA/LA (14 categories/maps)

Southern California Architectural History, published by John Crosse (a blog for “fans of the cultural, architectural and design history of Southern California”)

USC Regional History Center

Recommended for all architectural research

Southern California architecture in general

12 architectural treasures,” published by the California Travel & Tourism Commission (via

Berger, Robert, Sacred spaces: historic houses of worship in the City of Angels, Balcony Press, NA5235.L67 B47 2003

Cuff, Dana, The Provisional city: Los Angeles stories of architecture and urbanism, MIT Press, NA7238.L6 C84 2000

De Long, David (editor), Historic American Buildings, California, Garland Publishing, NA730.C2 H54, vols. 1-4

De Wit, Wim & Alexander Christopher James, Overdrive: L.A. constructs the future1940-1990, Getty Research Institute, NA735.L55O95 2013

Freppel, Denis, Architectures de Los Angeles: photographies de Denis Freppel, 1880-1940, Gourcuff Gradenigo, NA735.L55 F74 2014

Fuss, Troy, Cruising LA: architectural styles in 5 easy drives, Balcony Press, NA735.L55 F877 2006

Harlander, Thomas, “A guide to the 100 stunning architectural gems of L.A.,” Los Angeles Magazine, February 8, 2017 (via

Hines, Thomas, Architecture of the sun: Los Angeles modernism, 1900-1970, Rizzoli, NA735. L55 H56 2010

Historic American Buildings Survey online collection of Los Angeles County prints & photographs

Kaplan, Wendy (editor), Living in a modern way: California design, 1930-1965, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; MIT Press, NK835. C3 C35 2011

Koenig, Gloria, Iconic L.A.: stories of L.A.’s most memorable buildings, Angel City Press, NA735.L55 K64 2006

Pacific Standard Time presents Modern Architecture in L.A. (Multi-venue series of exhibits & events April-July 2013)

Tigerman, Bobbye (editor), A handbook of California design1930-1965, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; MIT Press, NK835 .C3 C35 2011 (Personal site by Martin Locke with extensive pictures, addresses and dates)

Eras of Los Angeles Architecture

Clark, Robert Judson, Los Angeles transfer: architecture in southern California 1880-1980, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, NA735.L55 C58 1983

Gebhard, David, "Architectural Imagery, the Mission, and California," Harvard Architecture Review, no. 1, Spring 1980, p.137-145

Gehbard, David, "The Spanish Colonial Revival in Southern California," JSAH, May 1967, p.131-147

Hannaford, Donald R. & Revel Edwards, Spanish colonial or adobe architecture of California, 1800-1850, Architectural Book Pub. Co., NA7235.C2H3 1989

Historic American Buildings, California, Garland Publishing, NA730.C2H54

Kirker, Harold, California’s architectural frontier: style and tradition in the nineteenth century, Peregrine Smith Books, NA730.C2 K5 1986

Mendoza, Rubén, The California missions, Rizzoli, F864 .M46 2018

Newcomb, Rexford, Spanish-colonial architecture in the United States, Dover Publications, NA707.N44 1990

Newsom, Joseph C., Artistic buildings and homes of Los Angeles, Calliope Press [reprint 1981], NA735.L55 N48 1888

Sanford, Trent Elwood, Architecture of the Southwest, University of Arizona Press, NA727.S26 1997

Schuetz-Miller, Mardith K., Building and Builders in Hispanic California 1769-1850, F861 .S33 1994

Cook, S.F. & Tina Skinner, California colonial homes: case studies with prominent architects, Schiffer Publishing, NA7235.C22 C66 2006

Dailey, Victoria, et al, LA's early moderns: art, architecture, photography, Balcony Press, N6530.C2 D3 2002

Gebhard, David, Los Angeles in the thirties: 1931-1941, Hennessey & Ingalls, NA735.L55G42 1989

Henstell, Bruce, Sunshine and Wealth: L.A. in the Twenties and Thirties, Chronicle Books, F869.L85H46 1984 (Good visuals)

Kropp, Phoebe S., California vieja: culture and memory in a modern American place, University of California Press, F862 .K76 2006

Longstreth, Richard W., City Center to Regional Mall, MIT Press, HF5429.5.L7L66 1997 (Detailed history of the car’s impact on L.A.)

Longstreth, Richard W., The drive-in, the supermarket, and the transformation of commercial space in Los Angeles, 1914-1941, MIT Press, HF5429.5.L7 L663 1999

McCoy, Esther, Five California Architects, Praeger Publishers, NA730.C2M3 1975 (Classic on early moderns)

McMillan, Elizabeth Jean, Deco & streamline architecture in L.A.: a moderne city survey, Schiffer Publishing, NA735.L55 M38 2004

Polyzoides, Stefanos, Courtyard Housing in Los Angeles, Princeton Architectural Press, NA7238.L6 P6 1992 (A classic on a ubiquitous type)

Roseman, Curtis C., The historic core of Los Angeles, Arcadia, F869.L88 A27 2004

Sitton, Tom & William Deverell, Metropolis in the making: Los Angeles in the 1920s, University of California Press, F869.L857 M48 2001

Starr, Kevin, Endangered Dreams: the great depression in California, Oxford University Press, HB3717 1919.S73 1996

Starr, Kevin, Material Dreams: Southern California through the 1920s, Oxford University Press, F867.S82 1990

Wilson, Henry L., California Bungalows of the Twenties, Dover Publications, NA7571.W54 1993

Winter, Robert & Alexander Vertikoff, Architecture of entertainment: L.A. in the twenties, Gibbs Smith, Publisher, NA735.L55 W56 2006

Winter, Robert, The California Bungalow, Hennessey & Ingalls, NA7571.W56

Winter, Robert (editor), Toward a Simpler Way of Life: the Arts and Crafts Architects of California, University of California Press, NA730.C2 T68 1997

Woods, Douglas, Classic homes of Los Angeles, Rizzoli, NA7238.L6 W66 2010

Arts & Architecture (The classic L.A. magazine, published until 1967. Revived briefly in the 1980s)

Didion, Joan, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Simon and Schuster, PS3554.D5S5

Eng, John, Modern tract homes of Los Angeles, Schiffer, NA735.L55 E55 2011

Fante, John, Dreams from Bunker Hill, Black Sparrow Press, PS3511.A57D7

Gallion, Arthur B., “Architecture of the Los Angeles region,” Architectural Record, May 1956, p.159-166

Goldstein, Barbara, Arts & Architecture: the Entenza Years, MIT Press, NX456.5.M64A7 1990 (An anthology)

Grant, Thurman & Joshua G. Stein (editors), Dingbat 2.0: the iconic Los Angeles apartment as projection of a metropolis, DoppelHouse Press, NA7862.L67 D58 2016

Hayden, Dolores, The Power of Place: urban landscapes as public history, MIT Press, F869.L857H39 1995

Hess, Alan, Googie: fifties coffee shop architecture, Chronicle Books, NA7856.H471 1986

Hess, Alan, Googie redux: ultramodern roadside architecture, Chronicle Books, NA7856.H47 2004

Hise, Greg, Magnetic Los Angeles: planning the twentieth-century metropolis, Johns Hopkins University Press, HT394.L67H57 1997

“The housing authority of the city of Los Angeles,” California Arts & Architecture, May 1943, p.[47]-[66]

“Images from a silver screen,” Progressive Architecture, October 1976, p.70-77

Jackson, Lesley (editor), Contemporary: architecture and interiors of the 1950s, NA682.I58 C66 1994

Lubell, Sam & Douglas Woods, Julius Shulman: Los Angeles: the birth of a modern metropolis, Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., TR659.S584 2016

McCoy, Esther, Case Study Houses 1945-1962, Hennessey & Ingalls, NA7235.C2 M2 1977

McCoy, Esther, The Second Generation, Peregrine Smith Books, NA730.C2 M33 1984 (Office)

Phoenix, Charles, Southern California in the ‘50s: sun, fun, fantasy, Angel City Press, F867 .P5 2001

Rosa, Joseph, Constructed View: The Architectural Photography of Julius Shulman, TR659 .R6293 1994

Schreyer, David & Andreas Nierhaus, Los Angeles modernism revisited: houses by Neutra, Schindler, Ain, and contemporaries, Park Books, NA7235.C22 L675 2019

Serraino, Pierluigi, California captured: mid-century modern architecture, Marvin Rand, Phaidon Press Inc., NA730.C2 .R36 2018

Slert, N. Charles & James Harter, 12 Los Angeles Architects, Graphics Communications Department, Cal Poly, NA735.L55 A4 1978 (Office)

Smith, Elizabeth A. T., Blueprints for Modern Living: the Case Study House program, MIT Press, NA7235.C22S684 1989 (Catalog of retrospective)

Starr, Kevin, The Dream Endures: California enters the 1940s, Oxford University Press, F866.S78 1997

Stern, Michael & Alan Hess, Hollywood modern: houses of the stars, Rizzoli International Publications, NA7238.L6 S74 2018

Weisskamp, Herbert, Beautiful homes and gardens in California, H. N. Abrams, NA7235.C3 W43

“What is modern?” SoCal Modern Real Estate Group, accessed January 2019,

Anderton, Frances, “What are the young architects doing?” Abitare, May 1994, p.220-226, 263

Banham, Reyner, Los Angeles: the architecture of four ecologies, Harper & Row, NA735.L55B3 1973 (Classic)

Betsky, Aaron, et al, Experimental Architecture in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, NA735.L55E97 1991

The California condition: a pregnant architecture, La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, NA2706.U6C34 1982 (Office)

Los Angeles Times Staff, Understanding the riots: Los Angeles before and after the Rodney King case, F869.L89 N4 1992

Cenzatti, Marco, Los Angeles and the L.A. School, Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, F869.L83 C36 1993

Chase, John, Exterior Decoration: Hollywood’s inside-out houses, Hennessey & Ingalls, TH4816.C43 1982 (Prophetic study of vernacular)

Davis, Mike, City of Quartz, Verso, HN80.L7D38 1991

Gannon, Todd & Ewan Branda, A confederacy of heretics, SCI-Arc Press; Getty Publications, NA735 .L55 C66 2013 (Catalog of SCI-Arc Gallery exhibit)

Jencks, Heteropolis: Los Angeles, the riots and the strange beauty of hetero-architecture, NA735.L55 J46 1993 (Office)

Jodidio, Philip, Contemporary California architects, Taschen, NA730.C2 J63 1995

Keil, Los Angeles: Globalization, Urbanization, and Social Struggles, HT384.L77K45 1998 (Good survey of L.A. & the L.A. School)

Lacy, Bill & Susan deMenil (editors), Angels & Franciscans: innovative architecture from Los Angeles and San Francisco, Rizzoli, NA735.L55 A54 1992 (Office)

Lavin, Sylvia (editor), Everything loose will land: 1970s art and architecture in Los Angeles, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, NA735.L55 E94 2013

"Los Angeles," Architectural Design, Vol. 52, #3-4, 1982, p.97-176 (A.D. Profile #36)

“Los Angeles,” Werk, Bauen + Wohnen, July/August 1990 (Theme issue)

McGrew, Patrick & Robert Julian, Landmarks of Los Angeles, H.N. Abrams, F869.L843M38 1994

Phillips, Stephen John, L.A. [Ten]: interviews on Los Angeles architecture, 1970s-1990s, Lars Müller Publishers, NA680 .P45 2014

Plagens, Peter, “Los Angeles: the ecology of evil,” Artforum, December 1972, p.67-76 (Scathing critique of Banham)

Reeve, Margaret & Michael Rotondi (editors), From the Center: design process at SCI-Arc, Monacelli Press, NA2750.F76 1997 (Office)

Scott, Allen J. & Edward W. Soja, The City: Los Angeles and urban theory at the end of the twentieth century, University of California Press, HN80.L7C57 1996

Slert, N. Charles & James Harter, 12 Los Angeles Architects, Graphics Communications Department, Cal Poly, NA735.L55 A4 1978 (Office)

Steele, James, Los Angeles architecture: the contemporary condition, Phaidon Press, NA735.L55 S74 1998

Street-Porter, Tim, Freestyle, the new architecture and interior design from Los Angeles, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, NA7238.L6 S77 1986

Toy, Maggie, Los Angeles, Academy Editions, NA735.L55 L66 1994 (Office)

Waldie, D. J., Holy Land: a suburban memoir, W. W. Norton, F869.L217W35 1996

Webb, Michael, Brave new houses: adventures in southern California living, Rizzoli, NA7235.C22 S6846 2003

Chase, John, LA 2000+: new architecture in Los Angeles, Monacelli Press, NA735.L55 C45 2006

Dear, Michael J. (editor), From Chicago to L.A: making sense of urban theory, Sage Publications, HT384.U52 L673 2001

Form magazine (Burbank-based bi-monthly)

KCRW DnA, by Frances Anderton

L.A.Curbed, by Vox Media

Mount, Christopher, et al, A new sculpturalism: contemporary architecture from Southern California, Skira Rizzoli, NA730.C22 S686 2013

Webb, Michael, Architecture + design L. A., The Understanding Business, NA735.L55W43 2000 (Office) (Selective, focused on post-1980 buildings)

Topics in Los Angeles architecture

“Bunker Hill: rehabilitation of a blighted area,” California Arts & Architecture, July 1943, p. [31]-[35]

Davis, Mike, “Downtown: the Infinite Game,” in Out of site: a social criticism of architecture, edited by Diane Ghirardo, Bay Press, NA2543.S6 O9 1991

DTLA Rising - blog tracks downtown business development, including new retailers, restaurants, theaters, etc. (produced by Brigham Yen)

Los Angeles Downtown News

Rice, Christina & Emma Roberts (editors), Bunker Hill in the rearview mirror: the rise and fall and rise again of an urban neighborhood, Photo Friends of the Los Angeles Public Library, F869.L86 B86 2015

Roseman, Curtis C., et al, The historic core of Los Angeles, Arcadia, F869 .L88 A27 2004 (Vintage photographs)

Roth, Marissa, Real city: downtown Los Angeles inside/out, Angel City Press, F869 L843 R681 2001

Silver, Alain & James Ursini, L.A. noir: the city as character, Santa Monica Press, PN1995.9.F54 S57 2005

Ward, Josi, “’Dreams of oriental romance’: reinventing Chinatown in 1930s Los Angeles,” Buildings & Landscapes: Journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, Spring 2013, p.19-42


Boom: a journal of California (published by U. of California Press)

Gutierrez, Ramón & Richard J. Orsi, Contested Eden: California before the gold rush, University of California Press, F864.C735 1998

Haas, Lisbeth, Conquests and Historical Identities in California 1769-1936, University of California Press, F869.S395H33 1995

Howe, Kathyrn Welch, The Los Angeles Historic Resource Survey Report, 2008 (See also: a brief survey project overview, via Getty Conservation Institute)

L.A. Dept. of City Planning, Office of Historic Resources, SurveyLA Field Survey Findings and Report (Master Report published August 2016)

LA Public Library Online Photo Collection (Searchable database of historic news images from Southern California)

Online Archives of California (part of California Digital Library project)

Perry, Claire, Pacific Arcadia: Images of California 1600-1915, Oxford University Press, N8214.5.U6P473 1999

Southern California Genealogical Society

Starr, Kevin, Americans and the California Dream 1850-1915, Oxford University Press, F867.M25 (Starr’s series is the standard history)

Starr, Kevin, Inventing the dream:  California through the Progressive era, Oxford University Press, F867.S8 1985

Beck, Warren A., Historical Atlas of the American West, University of Oklahoma Press, G1381.W1B4 1989

City Map Sites, (Alpha list of resources from UT Austin)

City of L.A., Bureau of Engineering (see the “Mapping Tools” section under “Services”)

Heliphoto (Aerial photographs of Los Angeles and Southern California)

L.A. Public Library online map collection

State of California, Dept. of Conservation, Geologic Maps 

UC Berkeley Earth Sciences & Map Library

 Zoning maps (Zimas)

Bakker, Elna S., An island called California, University of California Press, QH105.C2B3 1984

California Natural History Guides,” a series of books published by the U. of California Press, various call numbers

Davis, Mike, Ecology of Fear, Metropolitan books, HN80.L7D37 1998

De Nevers, Greg, et al, The California naturalist handbook, University of California Press, 2013 (via Ebook Central)

Deverall, William & Tom Sitton, Water and Los Angeles: a tale of three rivers, 1900-1941, University of California Press, HD4464.L7 D48 2016

Elrick, Ted, Los Angeles River, Arcadia Publishing, F868.L8 E47 2007

Felton, Ernest L., California’s Many Climates, Pacific Books, QC984.C2F4

Fradkin, Philip L. & Alex L. Fradkin, The left coast: California on the edge, University of California Press, 2011 (via Ebook Central)

Gilbar, Steven, Natural State: a Literary Anthology of California Nature Writing, University of California Press, QH105.C2N425 1998

Griggs, Gary B., Introduction to California’s beaches and coast, University of California Press, GB458.8 .G75 2010

Muir, John, The Mountains of California, Penguin Books, QH105.C2M818 1993

Palmer, Tim, Field guide to California’s rivers, University of California Press, GB1225.C3 P348 2012

Reisner, Marc, A dangerous place, Pantheon Books, F861 .R43 2003

Schoenherr, Allan A., Natural History of California, University of California Press, QH105.C2 S36 2017

Southern California Earthquake Center

Bestor, Barbara, Bohemian modern: living in Silver Lake, Regan Books, NA735 .L55 B47 2006

City of Los Angeles Economics & Demographics

Deener, Andrew, Venice: a contested Bohemia in Los Angeles, University of Chicago Press, HN80.L7 D44 2012

Kling, Rob, et al (editors), Postsuburban California: transformation of Orange County, HN79.C220726 1991

Laslett, John H. M., Shameful victory: the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Red Scare, and the hidden history of Chavez Ravine, University of Arizona Press, 2015 (via Ebook Central)

Mapping L.A., by the Los Angeles Times

Martinez, Cid Gregory, The neighborhood has its own rules: Latinos and African Americans in South Los Angeles, New York University Press, F869.L89 A2547 2016

McLung, William A., Landscapes of desire: Anglo mythologies of Los Angeles, University of California Press, F869. L85 M33 2000

Rios-Bustamante, Antonio José & Pedro Castillo, An illustrated history of Mexican Los Angeles, 1781-1981, University of California, Chicano Studies Research Center Publications, 1986

Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

Spring, Arnold (editor), History of Venice of America 1850-1939, Ulan Bator Foundation, F869.V38 H57 1992 (Office)

Webb, Michael & Juergen Nogai, Venice, CA: art + architecture in a maverick community, Abrams, N6535.L6 W43 2007

Wild, H. Mark, Street meeting: multi-ethnic neighborhoods in early twentieth-century Los Angeles, University of California Press, F869.L89 A1 2005

Berry, Rob, et al (editors), L.A. Forum reader, Actar, HT168.L6 L34 2018

Bottles, Scott L., Los Angeles & the Automobile: the Making of the Modern City, University of California Press, HE5634.L7B68 1987

California Department of Housing and Community Development

The Central Plan of the City of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning, HT168.L8L89 (a multivolume series)

Crouch, Dora P., et al, Spanish City Planning in North America, MIT Press, HT169.N68 C76

Cuff, Dana, The provisional city: Los Angeles stories of architecture and urbanism, MIT Press, NA7238.L6 C84 2000

Dear, Michael J. (editor), From Chicago to L.A.: making sense of urban theory, Sage Publications, HT384 .U52 L673 2001

Gottlieb, Robert, Reinventing Los Angeles: nature and community in the global city, MIT Press, HT168.L6 G68 2007

Hise, Greg & William Deverell, Eden by design: the 1930 Olmsted-Bartholomew plan for the Los Angeles region, University of California Press, HT394.L67 E34 2000

“Los Angeles,” Architectural Record, April 1968 (Theme issue on planning)

“A modern city plans its future: the new administrative center for Los Angeles, California,” California Arts & Architecture, November 1940, p. [22]-[23]

Soja, Edward W., My Los Angeles: from urban restructuring to regional urbanization, University of California Press, HT168.L6 S65 2014

Suisman, Douglas R., Los Angeles Boulevard: Eight X-Rays of the Body Public, ORO Editions, HE356.5.L7 S8 2014

Temko, Allan, “Reshaping super-city: the problem of Los Angeles,” Lotus, #5, 1968, p. [62]-69

“Workshop in Watts,” Architectural Forum, January/February 1969

Wit, Wim de & Christopher James Alexander (editors), Overdrive: L.A. constructs the future, 1940-1990, Getty Research Institute, NA735.L55 O94 2013

Deverall, William & Tom Sitton, Water and Los Angeles: a tale of three rivers, 1900-1941, University of California Press, HD4464.L7 D48 2016

“Getting it all together: rapid transit for car-plagued Los Angeles,” Industrial Design, January/February 1971, p.24-25

Hundley, Norris, Great Thirst: Californians and Water, 1770s-1990s, University of California Press, HD1694.C2H83 1992

In Our Path (Documentation of the construction of the Century Freeway)

Los Angeles Dept. of Water & Power

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)

Mulholland, Catherine, William Mulholland and the rise of Los Angeles, University of California Press, HD4464.L7 M85 2000

Reisner, Marc, Cadillac Desert, Penguin Books, HD1739.A17R45 1987 (There's also a good video documentary of the same name)

Please note

  • These guides are intended to provide initial orientation, and suggest a variety of different lines of investigation—not take the place of individual research.
  • All the resources cited here--print and digital--are available through the Kappe Library at SCI-Arc.Items not available at SCI-Arc are not included.
  • Surveys covering multiple projects are preferred over monographic studies focusing on specific works or individuals.
  • Resources on Los Angeles and Southern California are stressed.
  • Proprietary digital resources (Avery Index, Oxford Art Online, ArtStor, etc) can be accessed on-campus at SCI-ARC via any SCI-Arc internet provider. Off-campus they can be accessed 24/7 via the Kappe Library proxy server, and a valid SCI-Arc Network username and password.

The Kappe Library at SCI-Arc

The Kappe Library physical facility is currently closed due to the COVID-19 quarantine.
Access Kappe Library online resources:
Be sure to activate EZProxy to access all proprietary databases: