Sean Meehan, LEED AP
While Los Angeles boasts a bevy of architectural landmarks, Orange County’s prominent buildings are far fewer in number. LA features the works of prominent masters of the past and present such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Eames, Richard Meier and Frank Gehry, but the suburbia of Orange County has given rise to few memorable buildings. In a sea of generic Italianate quasi-villas, I will lead you on a brief virtual tour of a few of the OC’s notable exceptions.
Lovell Beach House, Rudolph Schindler, Newport Beach
On the National Register of Historic Places and dating all the way back to 1926, the Lovell Beach House was designed by Rudolph M. Schindler for Dr. Philip Lovell, a health and fitness advocate. Schindler came to the US from Austria, and ended up in Chicago where he became an embattled employee of Frank Lloyd Wright. Eventually he came to Los Angeles to work on some of Wright’s local projects, and the Lovell Beach House was one of his first commissions on his own, and historically considered one of his most important. This thing is still standing, though looking a bit beat up, as it celebrates its 85th birthday.
This poorly-translated page has some excellent historical photos and drawings: WikiArquitectura
Segerstrom Concert Hall, Cesar Pelli, Costa Mesa
Designed by Cesar Pelli to accompany his nearby stainless steel Plaza Tower office building, the Renee & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall is Orange County’s answer to the Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry in LA. I was fortunate enough to live and work in the area as this project was under construction, and the glass façade is truly a spectacle, especially at night. 30,000 sf of curved, laminated glass encloses the main lobby and circulation areas. The project went $40 million dollars over budget and endured a lengthy legal battle as a result. Troubles aside, this is a good looking building. If you have a chance to visit, be sure to check out the enormous COR-TEN steel sculpture by Richard Serra in the nearby plaza.
A few high-res photos of the Concert Hall may be found here: South Coast Metro Galleries
Portabello Estate, Brion Jeannette, Corona del Mar
This project garnered national press a few years ago as one of the most expensive homes in the U.S. While it was probably something of a publicity stunt to list this house for $75 million dollars, it is a stunning yet corny (see the underground mall) example of Orange County excess. It recently sold for $34.1 million – a real bargain.
There is a great gallery of pictures for the ‘Portabello Estate’ here: Portabello Estate