Los Angeles was known in the past as something of an architectural desert.

While great and controversial buildings were put up in Chicago and New York and other great cities of the world, L.A. had to be satisfied with few architectural gems along with a modest collection of historical buildings, some of which met the wrecking ball.

But all that's changed. The opening of the Getty Center 10 years ago, co-designed by Pritzker Prize-award winning architect Richard Meier, ushered in a new era for Los Angeles, drawing pedigree architects from around the world who committed to designing high-end and equally high-minded buildings.

The Getty was followed by the massive, built-for-the-ages Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. A short time later there was Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by local phenom Frank Gehry, arguably the most celebrated architect in the world today. Indeed, a spate of other breathtaking architectural wonders have popped up in the last 10 years. If anything, with forthcoming projects such as the Red Building at the Pacific Design Center, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum and ultra high end condo projects such as the Century, the trend has picked up.

Suddenly L.A. is becoming known as a welcoming home for daring architects.

But these great architects don't exist in a vacuum they must draw on the abilities of builders, engineers, landscape artists and the like. They all have not just the experience but the talent to handle the complex task of realizing masterpieces.

With all that in mind, the Business Journal has compiled a group of 10 notable architectural projects from the last decade commercial and public buildings that capture the essence of the city's new design spirit.

What follows are profiles of people who were key in building those notable structures. These are the go-to people when an architectural gem is to be built in Los Angeles. And there's a fair number of them.

"There is such a creative business community here that is looking to do something," said Douglas Hanson, design principal at DeStefano and Partners Ltd. "With all of the different cultures here and the ambitions of people who are willing to explore new ideas, it is pretty refreshing here as opposed to older cities."

Linda Dishman, executive director of the Los Angeles Conservancy, also believes the city's star is rising as an architectural center.


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