The City of Angels is the world center of entertainment, home of Hollywood, and houses some of the biggest film and television studios in the world. It belongs to Los Angeles county, the most populated in the entire U.S.A., and is the second most populated city in the country.
L.A. is a very culturally diverse city, since Southern California is so close to the Mexican Border, and the entertainment scene brings in a plethora of international travellers and business people.
The city area spans just over 500 square miles, making it the second largest city in the U.S after New York. Because of the hilly or ocean side terrain and mixed styles that exist in this culture hub, one thing you have to consider if building a new home or renovating, is consulting an Architect.
- Architects are a cornerstone of any building project because they are able to create the blueprints from which your building contractors will work. They study spatial and structural elements to make the best of the area they are given, and they understand the intricacies of design elements which go into a building.
- In a city like Los Angeles, there are many considerations to be made when building anything. A mediterranean climate means there is often sea air, and the topography of the land is very mixed, so having an architect to advise you on building techniques in the area will make the process of building smoother and whilst the initial financial put down may look expensive, in the long term it will save you significant amounts of money.
- Each architect will charge you uniquely, some by the hour or day, others by square foot, and some for the entire project as a once off fee. National average pricing for an architect at the end of a build stands between $2100.00 and a little $8000.00, however, expect to pay a little more for specialized projects.
- Architects spend a large portion of their time on site, so they know through the contractors they work with, where to obtain the best materials and which outlets or wholesale stores offer the best prices.
- Architects often have their own contractors or subcontractors, or will work with crews which they have built with before. Because they do this, the have a group or multiple groups of contractors on call who they trust, which will give you peace of mind but also ensure that your build goes to plan and doesn’t suffer cost overruns or scope creep.
- While home building in Tinseltown can be an extremely expensive affair depending on the neighbourhood you choose, the average is quite affordable at $287,500.00. Take the neighbourhood price changes into account, with the higher priced areas being places such as Beverly Hills or Hollywood, you average can go for anything between $150,152.00 and $425,893.00, which is quite a variation.
- The average size of a home in the U.S has grown over the last 30 years, with a standard home being around 2400 square feet. Los Angeles homes are a little smaller at 1800 square feet on average, but this is still a growth of 38% in the last century.
Los Angeles department of building and safety is currently looking towards sustainable practises, so be aware of this before deciding on what kind of building or alterations you would like to go into.
Building Code - Before you build, you will need to obtain a permit. The LA building code regulates the design, construction, material, safety features, location and maintenance of all buildings built in the city. Knowing what these laws entail is part of what an architect does, so at the very least, consultation is a must.
Existing Building Code - This code will apply to you if you are wanting to renovate a property. The laws in this code apply to all of the existing buildings, and regulate the minimum requirements for upkeep, and renovations to buildings.
Electrical Code -This code is in the same chapter as the municipal code as the previous two, and applies to the electrical hazards and health and safety regulations which surround them.
Other Codes - Other codes in this municipal legislature applies to plumbing, mechanical, sustainable practises, as well as building standards codes.
Taxation - Los Angeles County property tax stands at a 1% across the board, however, levies are applied depending on the municipality after direct assessment of a home.
As with all state specific and country-wide laws, there are many things which govern size, materials, safety regulations and building regulations of a new or renovated home. Having an architect on your side when you begin will ensure that you can address all of these before any financial put down.
Los Angeles is a mix of styles, due to it’s cultural diversity. Common styles which persist are;
Contemporary - Modern and postmodern architecture is very prevalent in the houses and mansions owned by the rich and famous in places like Hollywood. The US Bank Tower is a great example of this style.
Mid-century modern - Popular from the 30’s to the 60’s, wide open spaces and exterior lighting characterize this style, with clean lines and square or rectangle shapes. Stahl house is an example of this style.
Googie - Atomic age structures with wide concrete ceilings and post World War 2 “Dieselpunk” styles and pastel colours. It’s most commonly seen in the retro diners which are dotted throughout the metro.
Art Deco - The classic 20’s styling which was popular across the United States into the 30’s which incorporates straight geometric patterns and lines. Most commonly seen in Los Angeles City Hall and the Eastern Columbia building.
Best materials - The materials you will be looking into for a home in L.A. will be heavily dependent on the style you choose. In the styles which came out of the post war era, there are concrete pillars and ceilings, large glass windows and various styles of interior and exterior decoration. Postmodern styles often incorporate sustainable practices, so you may have woods and brickwork mixed with metals or concrete.
We suggest you think quite seriously about having an architect on your side when going into home-making in Los Angeles. It is a beautiful city with lots to offer, and having someone in the know to assist you will, make sure you get it right on the first take.