The Unique Architecture of Echo Park


Main image: https://takesunset.com

Echo Park has an eclectic roster of homes, commercial buildings, and public spaces that make the neighborhood a destination of its own. Street art, sunset views, hidden city staircases, boutiques, and eclectic architect make up the foundation of Echo Park.

Early 20th century architecture allows history to speak for itself. On the opposite side of the coin, there’s an industrial-meets-nature vibe about Echo Park, and it’s emboldened in the city’s more modern architecture. This unique architectural flair of the community is what continues to attract new residents from all around the world. Featured here is some of the unique architecture of Echo Park:

Modernist House on Lemoyne Street

Echo Park real estate reached new records when it sold a three bedroom, two bathroom house on Lemoyne Street for $2.275 million––well over its asking price of $1.895 million. The wooden fence outside the house is dotted with bright, techni-colored glass panels and a set of teal concrete steps. The home was designed by was designed by architect Rachel Allen, whose previous work includes Echo Park Bungalows. She’s also currently working on Pershing Square Renew in Downtown Los Angeles and the multi-family residential unit Encore Capital in Eagle Rock.

The house is designed to nestle into the land and transform the space into an urban retreat among nature. The goal for the space was to maximize the architectural connection to the outdoors, and a large portion of the house is composed of floor-to-ceiling windows. A long strip of glass on the ceiling spans the home from one end to the other, making the trees feel just as part of the interior as the concrete floors and sustainably harvested walnut. Check out more photos here.

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Image source: https://takesunset.com

Ark House

Situated along Lake Shore in Echo Park is the ultra-modern Ark House. Like other Echo Park staples, this multi-family building was sustainably designed to blend in seamlessly with nature; it features floor-to-ceiling sliding glass “windows” with corrugated metal screens that allow for temperature regulation. In the winter, they’re removed.

Los Angeles Times Magazine said the space represented, “smart, flexible design solutions that raise the bar on the indoor-outdoor connection so essential to life in Southern California.” The three-story building is built primary on concrete––the third floor features an expansive communal outdoor garden and terrace that overlooks Echo Park and downtown Los Angeles. Its design inspiration was based on the concept of a “mini mall” and all units in the building are the same (though each has its own interior flair based on the inhabitants, of course).

Architect Norman Mailer began working on the home in 2006 and  finished his design in 2010. Since then, it’s been included in several Los Angeles home tours, including Dwell on Design.

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The Atwater/ Holi Village Bungalows

We wrote about the Pueblo-style Atwater Bungalows in detail early last year, and they’re worth mentioning in any write-up about Echo Park real estate and architecture. Dr. H. Gale Atwater, an early Echo Park luminary, commissioned the property in the early 1930s, but they were designed by Robert Stacy-Judd. The design was inspired by traditional Hopi kivas in India and the concept of communal living architecture, and Stacy-Judd hoped to evoke the spirit of that. They were built from unfinished adobe to lend it a rustic appearance, and outfitted with pueblo-style windows, staircases, and cone-shaped chimneys.

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Image source: LA Times – http://losangelesrealestateunlimited.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Atwater-1-780×520.png

Victorian Homes on Carroll Avenue

Gingerbread trimmings and gabled roofs galore; this is a Victorian-era dream. Angelino Heights was the first suburb of Los Angeles, and it remains an important staple in the city till this day. Carroll Avenue is lined with grandiose Victorian homes from another era, and has the largest concentration of Victorian homes in the city. Originally constructed during the 19th century for upper and middle class families, today the 1300 block is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, while the entire neighborhood is the first in Los Angeles to be designated Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ).

This area has also had its share of Hollywood fame. Originally built for City Councilman Daniel Innes, 1339 Halliwell Manor is the iconic site of popular television series Charmed––and it still gets plenty of attention from the show’s fans. Walk a little further down, and you’ll reach 1345 Carroll Avenue from Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller” video. And a little walk from there is Carroll Avenue, which is “Mad Men” Don Draper’s childhood home.

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Image source: Discover Los Angeles



Blackbirds is an 18-unit small-lot housing project from architect Barbara Bestor. Polished concrete, white oak, fancy landscaping, rooftop decks, and tailored cabinetry are just a few features spread across these 18 properties. Bestor aimed to construct a progressive solution for high-quality, dense housing. According to its website, “Blackbirds is an experimental contemporary urban living where community, nature, and design are in balance with each other.” Each two and three-bedroom property is built around public and private outdoor spaces.

Each also features large windows for natural light, patios, and amazing outdoor views.

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Image: Bestor Architecture


Jessica’s Bungalow

Jessica Fleischmann is the owner of an Echo Park bungalow that, upon first glance, doesn’t look like much of anything out of the ordinary. The fleshy pink siding of the front exterior was kept in tact to preserve the historic character of the place, but Fleischmann, a graphic designer and daughter of Ernst Fleischmann (who led the Los Angeles Philharmonic) wanted a renovation that reflected modernity.

She commissioned architecture firm PRODUCTURA to work on the redesign. Today, it has a steel, grid-like frame in the back with full-glass windows spanning two floors. Oak wood, concrete flooring, and metal all blend together to create an urban oasis of sorts. Check out a full description of the renovation and its photos on Dwell.

The home was also featured in the Mark Ruffalo-featured film, “The Kids Are Alright.” Read more about her experience renting out her home for four days for $15,000.

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Image source: Dwell


Lento Brick Court

In 2010, the Lento Brick Courtyard was officially declared a Los Angeles historic-cultural monument. This prevents the property from any interior or exterior changes (and demolition) unless approved by the Cultural Heritage Commision in Echo Park. And while there’s nothing overtly historical about this (as with the Victorian homes on Carroll Avenue) or overtly modern (like Ark House), its unique courthouse housing design is a symbol of its time.

Unlike the surrounding area, it uses brick instead of stucco and wrought-iron fencing rather than wood. One writer from Echo Park Now said the design looks like something “you might find in New York as opposed to Los Angeles.”

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Image source: Historian 4 Hire


What You Need To Know About The Bob Baker Marionette Theater In Echo Park

The Bob Baker Marionette Theatre in Echo Park is, without a doubt, a Los Angeles staple. The theatre hosts shows and events featuring the most talented puppeteers and the most uniquely decorated handmade marionettes.


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Though the theatre caters primarily to young audiences, adults have consistently raved about the performances, and some even consider it a “psychedelic” experience, thanks largely in part to the off-beat soundtracks, wacky themes, and dizzying light show, and sounds.

The puppeteers are ultra-interactive and use the entire theatre as their playground, moving through the throngs of people and gliding across the theatre floor. After a while, most people even forget the puppeteers are there. If you’re interested in checking out a show, you’re in for a treat. Here’s a few other things you need to know about the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre in Echo Park:

The Theatre Is Steeped In History

The Bob Baker Marionette Theater has been a part of the Angelino community since 1963. Since then, it has been indicted as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Landmark. Every year, it utilizes over 2,000 puppets and puts on around 200 performances. Today, the theatre is a nonprofit organization, and its goal is to “provide unique theatrical experiences; to educate, celebrate and rejuvenate puppetry and the allied arts.”

They Host An Annual Festival

Since Bob Baker passed away of natural causes at 90 years old in 2014, the theatre has hosted a FREE annual “Bob Baker Day!” festival on his birthday. On February 24th, the fun and carnival-spirit energy spills out onto the street in front of the theatre. Here’s what you can expect during Bob Baker day this year:

  • Puppet shows
  • Pop-up puppet museum in the theatre
  • Arts and crafts booths
  • Food trucks
  • Exhibition booths from the local community
  • Live entertainment
  • Family-friendly games

Bob Baker Is A Marionette Legend

Bob Baker (1924-2014) started experimenting with puppeteering when he was just eight years old, and went on to become one of the world’s most renowned puppeteers. Over the course of his career, he served as the animation advisor for several studios, including Disney, and his puppetry work has been featured in several shows and films, including Bewitched, Star Trek, Land of the Giants, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Bob Baker’s marionettes have also performed live around the world––even on submarines and Navy ships.

The Theatre Will Expand In 2018

In a long-term plan to preserve the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre for at least another 50 years, the theatre transitioned into a non-profit organization. The company is currently rebuilding and expanding its theatre to accommodate this new mission. The 2018 construction will rejuvenate the current space, allowing the theatre to remain where it’s always been.

The new space will be based on Bob Baker’s original design sketches for the space, allowing the company to live up to its reputation and founder by fulfilling some of his lifelong dreams for the theatre.

In addition to the renovations, they’ll also be adding a workshop, museum, and educational space to engage with the community. These new facilities will also help foster partnerships with other cultural and educational groups. While the new space is under construction, the organization will be a traveling theatre and continue to host shows and events around Los Angeles. Construction is expected to end late 2018, or early 2019.

Birthday Parties Are Welcome

For a one-of-kind birthday party, the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre is the way to go. The Birthday Party package includes a personalized sheet cake from Hansen’s bakery, drinks, a fully decorated birthday area, balloon festival, and meet-and-greet with the marionettes at the end of the show. The party packages are customizable, and families can add additional party favors for a fee. Though there’s no kitchen access, guests are welcome to purchase and serve their own food.

Top Outdoor Activities In Echo Park

Echo Park is a great place to live and play no matter what the season is, but the warmer months offer ample opportunity to partake in some outdoor activities. The neighborhood is centrally located, making it the perfect starting point for a myriad of activities and events. Here’s a few things you can do if you’re in the area:


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Echo Park Lake

You can’t have a conversation about outdoor activities in Echo Park without talking about Echo Park Lake. This historic park underwent a massive makeover and has remained a go-to ever since. The lotus flower blooms make way for the Lotus Festival (mentioned later) and downtown views make for the perfect backdrop to a sunny afternoon. Though you’ll have to keep an eye out for events, there’s plenty to do here on a day-to-day basis. Start your day by heading over to the revived boathouse for breakfast at Square One. Then have a picnic, go fishing, take a stroll through its pathways, or rent a pedal boat and coast along still waters.

Lunch Concerts In Grand Park

If you live in Echo Park but commute downtown for work, why not spend your lunch hours listening to music at Grand Park? The performance lawn will have free music and plenty of food trucks to satiate your hunger. Head over to check out the local talent every other Thursday throughout the year.

Get A Workout On Echo Park Stairs

Echo Park is renowned for its many staircases, some hidden and winding, while others offer phenomenal views of the Los Angeles landscape. Whatever your style, there’s a staircase for you. It makes for the perfect workout and helps build appreciation for the neighborhood. For a challenging workout, the Baxter staircase is your best bet. The 231 steps offer downtown LA views at the top, and you’ll even find a wealth of succulents at the bottom of the steps near Elysian Park. Alternatively, the Delta staircase offers some great views of the northern side of Echo Park and is adorned with natural floral displays growing along the stairwell.

Go To A Dodger’s Game

Head to the Dodger’s stadium and root for your home team. Tickets start at just $12, and it’s a perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon. Go for an infamous Dodger Dog, or head to one of Echo Park’s highly-rated restaurants nearby.

Beach Yoga

There’s little doubt that beach yoga is worth traveling for. Head over to the beach for SUNSET Beach Yoga with Brad. The class is held by Brad Keimach, a Juilliard-trained conductor who’s also a yoga enthusiast and health lecturer. Classes are held on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and while no registration is required, there is a minimum donation of $15 for each 90-minute session. The Santa Monica Business Group voted the class “Best Yoga Business in Santa Monica” for the past three years.

Lotus Festival

Every year, the City of Los Angeles hosts the The Lotus Festival, an Echo Park Lake event that occurs during the lotus flower summer bloom. Each year, the festival is hosted by a different country. Last year, the host was Bangladesh, while this year, its 38th installment will be hosted by China. Expect traditional dancing, food, and other attractions inspired by the Chinese culture. This year, the event will be held July 14th and 15. There will be dragon boat races, free family-friendly entertainment, a silent auction, and much more. Visit the Lotus site for more information.

2018 LA Beer Fest

Starting at just $45, you’ll have access to unlimited beer tastings at the 2018 LA Beer Fest, held at LA Center Studios Studios over the course of two three-hour sessions (one session per ticket). Last year’s event was completely sold out, and this marks its 10th annual event. Expect dozens of domestic and international beers, food trucks, and live music. Proceeds from this event will go towards Noah’s B-ark, Inc, a non-profit organization whose aim is to rescue dogs from shelters and place them in permanent homes.