I’m going to take a big of a departure from the normal format of this column, where I answer your questions about architecture, architectural design, and other related topics. Instead, I want to talk about how my firm designs within the context of a city like Long Beach, California—one that has a rich architectural history.
If you know anything about the City of Long Beach, California, you know that it has some pretty impressive architecture—at least as far as Southern California is concerned. While the city doesn’t have buildings that date back hundreds of years, like many cities on the East Coast do, it does have some great homes, apartment complexes, churches, commercial buildings, and municipal buildings that date back more than 100 years. As you drive around Long Beach, you’ll see historic buildings in styles such as Art Deco, Classical Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, Renaissance Revival, and Moderne. When it comes to historic homes, there are plenty of Craftsman bungalows, Spanish Colonial Revival homes, Victorian residences, and more.
The historic buildings and neighborhoods are overseen by the Long Beach Cultural Heritage Commission (a committee of which I am currently a member). The Commission helps to ensure that the historic buildings and neighborhoods of Long Beach are preserved for generations to come by carefully reviewing any proposed renovations to these properties. In addition, Long Beach has the nonprofit Long Beach Heritage organization, which serves as a resource for historic property owners. They also conduct tours of historic properties, among their other initiatives.
As impressive as the historic architecture is in Long Beach, California, there are also some modern buildings to be admired, such as the world-renowned Aquarium of the Pacific, the Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse, and the Hyatt Regency Long Beach—just to name a few.
Everyday, I feel blessed to live and work in such a great city, surrounded by beautiful buildings and homes. As an architect in Long Beach, California, I want to do my part to contribute to the architecture of the city in meaningful ways.
Not every architectural design project can be a masterpiece, but my firm always does our best to create homes and buildings that enhance the neighborhood in which they reside. This could mean taking a “cookie cutter” house in a tract home neighborhood and giving it some added charm by strategically incorporating interesting architectural details. Or, it could mean designing a commercial building that “fits in” with the older surrounding buildings in terms of style, while also elevating the area by mixing in some modern elements. We did this recently with a new restaurant we designed in the Downtown Downey area. The restaurant we designed has a traditional brick exterior, but we combined that with an arched standing seam sculptural metal roof that gives the building a bit of a modern flair. Most people would never know that it was a recent ground-up build. Instead, it looks like it was always a part of the neighborhood—just thoughtfully updated for the modern consumer.
Of course, we also have a duty to design the homes or buildings our clients want. Fortunately, our clients tend to have the desire to elevate their neighborhoods as well. They want their home or commercial building to stand out, but not in a way that detracts from the neighborhood.
As architects in Long Beach, we want our work to inspire not only our clients, but also everyone who sees our work. By doing so, we hope to contribute to the continuing tradition of amazing architecture in the City of Long Beach!short url: