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L.A. comes up short on a long list of favored landmarks

February 18, 2007|Mike Boehm

AMERICA'S best buildings are ... pretty much outside Southern California. So says the public in a recent national survey by Harris Interactive.

Wanting to know what plain folks think is beautiful in a building, the American Institute of Architects hired the pollsters, who contacted 2,214 Americans to look at online photos; the Top 150 list, in honor of the AIA's 150th anniversary, is online at

The only Southland structure to crack the Top 20 is San Diego's Hotel del Coronado, at No. 18. Next, at No. 65, is the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, one of four Philip Johnson buildings chosen. Where's Disney Hall, you might ask? It's No. 99, behind the Gamble House in Pasadena (66), L.A.'s Union Station (75), the Hollywood Bowl (91) and J. Paul Getty Museum (95). Filling out the local roster are the Los Angeles Central Library (120), Hollyhock House (131) and the Stahl House (140).

Topping the list are the Empire State Building, the White House and Washington National Cathedral. New York and Washington, D.C., each account for eight of the Top 20 buildings and, along with Chicago, are home to 65 of the 150. San Francisco had nine entries on the list, led by the Golden Gate Bridge at No. 5.

Richard Meier, designer of the Getty Center, is the most-cited living architect, with five buildings in the AIA150; Frank Gehry has two -- Disney Hall and the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis.

Among the snubbed L.A. landmarks: Dodger Stadium (not among the 14 nominated sports venues), Watts Towers (maybe Simon Rodia lost points for being a stonemason rather than an architect) and Griffith Observatory.


-- Mike Boehm

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