Architectural Awards: Culver City on the Rise for Innovative Architecture


Three architectural designs located in Culver City returned triumphant from the 2018 48th Annual Architectural Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The Culver City winners: Vespertine, Stoneview Nature Center and The Culver Steps.

The event was organized and hosted by the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC), an organization formed with the mission of promoting environmental and economic sustainability through partnerships between business and government. This year’s architectural awards set out to honor “innovative, sustainable designs fit for L.A.’s modern needs.”

Retail/Restaurant category grand prize: Vespertine

Photo Credit: Tom Bonner Photography

The grand prize in the Retail/Restaurant category, was presented by Culver City Mayor Thomas Small, and awarded to Chef Jordan Kahn’s Vespertine, located in the Hayden Tract of Culver City. Nicknamed, “The Waffle,” it offers what is described as “a multi-sensory, multi-level and otherworldly ‘dining-as-art’ experience,” priced around $1,000 for two. Los Angeles Times restaurant critic named Vespertine  “The Best Restaurant in Los Angeles.”

Presenting the award Small said, “Vespertine was designed by world-renowned architect Eric Owen Moss, and is a two-story structure separated into four levels, of which no traditional walls support the building. Instead, the building is wrapped by an architectural skin–a curtain of undulating steel and glass.”

Small presenting at LABC Architectural Awards
Culver City Mayor Thomas Small presenting at 2018 48th Annual LABC Architectural Awards.

“Unusual to the point of impossibility,” Small continued, “The intimate 22-seat dining room sets the stage for an enigmatic dining experience, comprised of a succession of over 18 courses…It is a gastronomical experiment seeking to disrupt the course of the modern restaurant.”

Architect: Eric Owen Moss Architects  (Culver City-based)
Building Owner & Contractor: Frederick and Laurie Smith
Samitaur Smith, Samitaur Constructs (Culver City-based)
Contractor (Tenant Improvement): Howard CDM
Building Tenant: Jordan Kahn, Vespertine

Civic Building Award Category Winner: Stoneview Nature Center

Stoneview Nature Center
Courtesy of Stoneview Art Center.

Located in Blair Hills across from La Cienega, is The Stoneview Nature Centeropened in April 2017 as an extension of Baldwin Hills Parkland. Teams were vetted and asked to take part in Los Angeles County’s first Design-Build competition. The objective–to transform a five-acre brownfield site into a serene and sustainable community garden. The project’s multi-layered solution created by the various contributors represents “a unique story of community, engagement, and healing.”

Design Architect: Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects (Culver City-based)
Contractor: Ledcor Construction, Inc.
Building Owner: Department of Parks and Recreation
Building Developer: Department of Public Works, Project Management Division II
Landscape Architect: Ahbe Landscape Architects
Artist: Fallen Fruit

Under Construction Category Winner (1 of 3): The Culver Steps

Renderings courtesy of Hackman Capital Partners

The Culver Steps construction continues in downtown, adjacent to The Culver Hotel. This construction is a public and private partnership between the City of Culver City and Hackman Capital Partners. It will offer more than an acre of mixed-use space comprised of four stories of creative offices, retail/restaurant venues and 35,000-square-feet of public plaza. The Culver Steps was coined because of a “grand architectural staircase that [will cascade] down the side of the building, forming landscaped terraces and seating areas.”

Design Architect: Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects (Culver City-based)
Landscape Architect: SWA Group
Contractor: KPRS Construction Services
Building Owner: HC 9300 Culver, LLC
Building Developer: Hackman Capital Partners

Culver City architecture made an impressive showing at the 48th Annual Architectural Awards. Several Culver City-based firms won awards including Hodgetts + Fung, the renovation architects for the Robert Frost Auditorium.

Click here to see the full list of winners