Southern California’s Signature Architectural Styles

Southern California is the epitome of architectural variation. Consisting of a heavily urbanized environment, the southern cities have attracted people of various backgrounds and heritages throughout history and continues to do so. From its car, architectural fusion with Jet futurism to many other forms of Googie styles, it has presumably made this modern form of art its signature style. Googie designs first appeared in California’s architectural style after WWII, when car transportation became the dominant mode of transport. Influences from the vehicle industry led entrepreneurs to incorporate such designs as a marketing gimmick to entice customers to walk into their food franchises, cafes, gas stations etc.

But this isn’t all there is to SoCal’s art of construction. In this article, we explore the residential home decor and the combination of various cultures, which is the reason behind such enormous architectural practices and progress in this state. California’s frequently changing landscape is a result of its growing diversity, just checking out Laguna Beach real estate will prove the wild diversity of the architecture even in one of the state’s most crowded areas. Apart from the commercial designs and ultra development, a traveler will find residential architecture ranging from adobe homes of Spaniards to glitzy homes of Hollywood celebs to breakthrough modernist architecture to stunning amusement park buildings to Googie structures aforementioned to historic bridges. These interesting and eye-catching sights are found in the following dominant areas of SoCal: Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside-San Bernardino and San Diego.

Various Types of Architecture that manifests itself in SoCal Cities

Suffice to say is that these designs reflect the region’s development that spans well over 100s of years. It is the rich history from which these cities get most of their art marvel. Of course, the famous Hollywood’s influence and expansion is another major factor that shapes the increasingly modern constructive development.

Adobe Homes

Adobe homes are spread throughout Cali. made from organic materials like brick, it is also known as mud-brick homes. The structure basically resembles cob and rammed-earth buildings, even though adobe homes appear in varied fashion across the region. Adobe building material can be dated back to thousands of years when it was used by the locals of America.


Ranch homes go by several names. One of the popular names is Californian Ranch. Originated in the US, Ranch homes are unique for their lengthy and dense ground structure with minimum interior and exterior decor. It is a simple style that first became popular during the war period and later at some point lost popularity to neo-eclectic house styles.


The year 1880 marked the popularity of bungalows in America which have Indian origins. They were originally found during the English colonial period in India. After they found its way into America, it was Southern Cali that made it the most renowned in the history of American housing styles with its large detached housing structure, a triangular roof with dormer windows, and a front porch. Today, bungalows have been innovated to reflect one of the finest art exhibitions.


The Spaniard architectural construction is completely reminiscent of their culture. Despite the south being a British colony in the 17th century, most of the inhabitants there were Spaniards; hence they built buildings and homes the way they were built in their motherland. The Spaniard home design has been adopted and innovated many times over and is popular across SoCal.


The colonial housing style evolving from European influences began in the 1600s with the arrival of European immigrants. Colonial homes were originally two stories and resembled wider building structures but would have only one room on each floor. Today, these houses exist with multiple stories and several rooms on each floor.


Contemporary styled homes saw their rise between the 1960s and 1970 era. These houses have large plate glass windows. They use wood and stones in form of geometrical shapes and incorporate style into them. Contemporary designs are asymmetrical and designed to allow sunlight slip through the large windows and sliding doors. It has large doors with a plain interior. The style is a classic modern design which is added to from time to time but still remains an ever-changing one.

These are just a handful of the many housing decors found in these cities. Southern Cali’s climate is hot, droughty and sunny. It is a typical Mediterranean climate and this is why you’ll see many balconies and outdoor pool facilities in the front and backyards. There’s also a great deal of ultra-modern development in pool designs in residential settings. In summary, Cali is home to tremendous styles and trends in all capacities.

Michael keeps himself busy by writing about design, arts, psychology, and how they intertwine. He grew up in a small town in Montana and now resides in Austin with his wife and dog, Bailey.