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Hayden Tract, Los Angeles

Around the corner from our favourite Culver Hotel (previous post), deep in the heart of Culver City, we found a hidden-away street of the craziest architecture - this turned out to be the Hayden Tract. Alongside refurbished industrial buildings, now housing small creative businesses, are some fantastical constructions mostly designed by Eric Owen Moss, apparently he describes these experimental buildings as 'Conjunctive Points'.

Actually this isn't one of his - this is a re-furb but it's got to be the BEST cactus garden I've ever seen.

The simplest and coolest idea.

The weird ones are by Eric Owen Moss.

Reminds me of a scaly eyed sci-fi monster!

It's not hard to frame an interesting shot with so much going on in these buildings - in fact the issue is more trying to leave something out!

There are 2 (among other) great things about America and architecture: 1) they don't have many rules about what you can and can't build hence all kinds of amazing structures exist and 2) they have plenty of space to do it so the scale can be vast. I wish, wish, wish we had a more open attitude to contemporary architecture in Britain - I sometimes feel we live in a historical theme-park.

All this de-construction is a bit confusing I find.

I don't think Eric Owen Moss can be a Le Corbusier fan.

I did love this parking lot though. I saw plenty of the cropped bamboo hedges in trendy parts of LA - simple shapes and great texture against the raw concrete.

Pretty stunning I have to admit - notwithstanding the references to exploding greenhouses and aircraft hangers!

I reckon this ultra-simple high-level garden structure got my top marks in the Hayden Tract.
The 'Conjunctive Points', while extremely impressive - and you have to salute the engineering- are rather too self conscious for my taste and above all
have so much going on. However, it's definitely worth a look at the Eric Owen Moss website, the guy certainly has an imagination. As I write this I'm slightly questioning my response to his work, perhaps I should wedge my mind a bit more open to this flamboyant - and I think strangely figurative architecture - after all you can't swoon at the feet of Modernism for ever. Yes, I think I'll do that.
Here's an interesting article about his Culver City buildings in the New Yorker magazine
All in all a fascinating morning stroll and oh for some edgy architectural enclaves like this a few blocks from my house!

My other posts on LA are:


  1. The cactus garden is brilliant, have you seen that Sculpture Lightning Field, regular lines of verticals.. something Don Judd about it too.
    London's closest rival I think is All Saints at Camden Lock, curved rust walls and dusty industrial details, one of my World's greatest buildings!!

  2. Susan21/6/11

    Really nice pictures. I love some of those crazy details and unexpected changes in form. I remembered Habitat 67 in Montreal. Maybe because of that concrete.


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