The Website

Growing up in Southern California, there is an excess of fantastic architecture to appreciate. After all, this is a landscape built by design luminaries, including: Julia Morgan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, John Lautner, William Pereira, Frank Gehry, and so many more. In our family, an appreciation for architecture was ingrained from an early age. Our father, having been born and raised in the LA-area, would drive the family around on “Urban Adventures” on weekends. He would show us kids the unique sights, smells, and tastes that make California so magical. Always in hand to guide us on our adventures was Gebhard and Winter’s An Architectural Guidebook of Los Angeles. We would make notes of what buildings we liked best, studied the book, and beat it to death. However, there was always something missing: Orange County.

Orange County has for so long been viewed as the vapid step-sister to Los Angeles. This view has also been shared by fans, students, and critics of architecture. They see Orange County as an endless array of strip malls, McMansions, and aging tract homes. While there is some truth to this, it is not representative of the whole picture. As with any study, the closer you look, the more complex the issue. In between these sterile wastelands are truly significant pieces of cultural and architectural history. It is our hope that the Orange County Architecture Guide can be a companion piece to Gebhard and Winter’s iconic book, celebrating the built environment of Orange County.

Some authors, like Sam Lubell and Alan Hess, have already picked up this fight to prove Orange County has more to offer architecture-wise. This website is dedicated to take this one step further, to be even more comprehensive. The world should know that Orange County has buildings built before the founding of the United States. People need to recognize and appreciate the masterpieces of Googie architecture that hearken back to the space-age. Visitors to the website need to appreciate that yes, even the decentralized, car-centric, megapolis of Orange County has cutting-edge green buildings. To put it simply, our hope is that our website guide will succeed in proving that Orange County is home to underappreciated works of architectural genius.

Coming Soon

The website will be updated periodically as we research and photograph more significant buildings. If you do not see your favorite building(s), be sure to check back in at a later date. Buildings that will be next to be added to the website include, but is not limited to:

  • George Clark House -Fullerton

  • Smoke-Lyster Residence-Laguna Beach

  • Modjeska House-Unincorporated

  • Sage Hill School-Newport Beach

  • Saddleback College-Mission Viejo

  • Founders Hall, Soka University-Aliso Viejo

  • The Digester - Laguna Beach

  • Chet Holifield Federal Building - Laguna Niguel

  • Bradford House - Placentia

The Team

Orange County Architectural Guide is written, photographed, and designed by a team of brothers, Priit and Aivar Kaskla. None of those involved in this project are architects by trade, nor have any journalistic training. Aivar is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona, with a B.A. in Graphic Design. Priit is a graduate of Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, with a B.S. in City and Regional Planning, and a graduate of UC Irvine, with a Masters in Public Policy.

Additional Resources

Arenson, A. (2018). Millard Sheet Studio Public Projects. Adam Arenson. https://adamarenson.com/books/banking-on-beauty-millard-sheets-and-midcentury-commercial-architecture-in-california/definitive-list-for-home-savings-and-loan-artwork-savings-of-america-artwork-and-the-millard-sheets-studio-public-projects-2-3/

Hines, T. S. (1982). Richard Neutra and the Search for Modern Architecture: A Biography and History. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. https://books.google.com/books?id=xoA76SOY154C&pg=PA314&lpg=PA314&dq=lawrence+elementary+school+garden+grove+neutra&source=bl&ots=SwkdB3d4yW&sig=JrxVa5owKEo0AWoKsVzxfTnBPA8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiXpJ28xKvYAhWmhVQKHcRpDvsQ6AEIUzAJ#v=onepage&q&f=false

Lamprecht, B.M. (2015). Neutra Complete Works. Köln, Germany: Taschen.

Lubell, S., & Bradley, D. (2016). Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guide: West Coast USA. London, England: Phaidon Press Ltd.

Preserve Orange County. https://www.preserveorangecounty.org

Winter, R., & Gebhard, D. (2018). An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles (6th ed.). Santa Monica, CA: Angel City PR.