Southern California is a region where a confluence of circumstances has produced unimaginable architectural creativity. Planopli takes a group of art, architecture and music lovers to the art biennale Desert X, the music festival Coachella and in between to three very different destinations with ditto architecture.

Palm Springs is a Mecca for modernist villas, Los Angeles is a model of acupunctural interventions in an unmistakable city, and San Diego showcases imaginative projects on and along the Pacific cliffs.

“Reality ends here” is the inscription that once hung above the entrance door of the University of Southern California School of Cinema and Television. It is still the unofficial motto of the school that unleashed such famous directors as George Lucas and Steven Spielberg on the film world. It would not be a bad idea, however, to place this oneliner on the borders of Los Angeles and San Diego as well, because once you cross these thin lines —however well you stand with both feet on the ground— this place will infect you. The most diverse characters —chefs, accountants, dog trainers and yes, even architects— have been here in search of the five-pointed recognition.

America’s greatest ‘dissident’ to the academic tradition was of course Frank Lloyd Wright. Following in the footsteps of his non-conformist mentor Sullivan, he refused a scholarship offer at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and developed a regional style of his own by building a series of ‘prairie houses’ in the Chicago suburbs. After his Mayan-inspired Hollyhock villa, and after experimenting with his patented textile blocks in several homes in the Los Angeles area, Wright’s most forward-looking buildings emerged in the 1930s. The change in his architecture can be followed throughout the project visits in California. It is influenced by innovative techniques, business style and European modernism.

The stay of talented Europeans in the United States, including Rudolf Schindler, Richard Neutra and Frederick Kiesler, and the immigration of many leading modernists such as Ludwig Mies van Rohe and Walter Gropius brought about a profound shift in views from the 1920s onwards. Schindler, who moved to California to work for Wright, created avant-garde concrete structures. Richard Neutra’s steel skeletons became the epitome of modern architecture in America. In this era, the most famous of the Case Study Houses was the Eames House for which Charles and Ray Eames used standard elements from a mail order catalogue. Equally impressive are the minimalist modernist homes of Craig Ellwood and Pierre Koenig.

Two important architects associated with Yale stand out in the context of American Brutalism: Louis I. Kahn and Paul Rudolph. In La Jolla (San Diego) Kahn creates one of the architectural masterpieces of the twentieth century: the Jonas Salk Institute.

Finally, the return of tectonic values is best seen in the later work of Frank O. Gehry that influenced the twisted buildings of the group Morphosis and Eric Owen Moss. As a counterbalance to the contemporary blockbusters of European architects in San Francisco, Los Angeles offers a sample of these American architects.


programme subject to change


Desert X
Kaufmann Desert House, Richard Neutra, 1946
Rotating House, Ffloyd D’Angelo, 1963
Huddel Springs restaurant, William F. Cody, 1957
Elrod House, John Lautner, 1968
Deepwell estates, o.a. Donald Wexler, E. Stewart Williams, Hugh Kaptur, jaren ’50
Tramway Gas Station, Albert Frey, 1965
Palm Springs City Hall, Albert Frey, 1952
Frey II House, ALbert Frey, 1964Raymond Loewy House, Albert Frey, 1947
Bob Hope Estate, John Lautner, 1979


Caltrans District 7 Headquarters, Morphosis, 2004
Union Station, John & Donald B. Parkinson, 1939
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Welton Becket, 1962
Museum of Contemporary Art, Arata Isozaki, 1985
Pershing Square, Legoretta + Olin, 1994
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles, Rafael Moneo, 2002
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Frank O. Gehry, 2004
LACMA, Wiliam Pereira, 1965
LACMA, Renzo Piano, 2010
Museum of the Holocaust, Belzberg Architects
Julius Shulman House & studio, Raphael Soriano
the Broad Museum, Diller & Scofidio Renfro
Bullocks Wilshire, John & Donald B. Parkinson
6AM redevelopment, Herzog & de Meuron, 2017
Art Center College of Design, Craig Ellwood, 1974
Gamble House, Greene & Greene, 1908
Barnsdall Hollyhock House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1921
Ennis Brown House, Frank Lloud Wright, 1924
Lovell Health House, Richard Neutra, 1929
Vanderleeuw Research House II, Richard & Dion Neutra, 1966
Malin Residence (Chemosphere), John Lautner, 1960
Case Study House #22, Pierre Koenig, 1960
Schindler-Chase House, Rudolf Schindler, 1922
Sheats/Goldstein House, John Lautner, 1963
Harpel House, John Lautner, 1956
Anderton Court shop, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1954
Prada Epicenter, OMA, 2004
Case Study House #21, Pierre Koenig, 1958
Getty Center, Richard Meier, 1997
Eames House, Charles & Ray Eames, 1949
Entenza House, Charles Eames & Eero Saarinen, 1949


Garden Grove Crystal Cathedral, Philip Johnson & John Burgee, 1979-1990
Drive In Church, Richard Neutra, 1961
Lovell Beach House, Rudolf Schindler, 1926
Jonas Salk Institute, Louis I. Kahn, 1959-1961
Visitor’s Center, Richard Meier, 2002
UCSD Geisel Library, William Perreira, 1970
UCSD The Breezeway, Revell College, Risley & Gould, 1968
UCSD Biomedical Library, Robert Evans Alexander, 1966
UCSD Natatorium, Liebhardt & Weston, 1965
UCSD York Hall, Donald Neptune & Joseph Thomas, 1964



  • ESTA document required (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation)
    The application is simple via the ESTA website
  • International travel pass required
  • Vaccinations not required nor recommended

Standard information for package holiday agreements

  • The combination of travel services offered to you is a package holiday within the meaning of Directive (EU) 2015/2302, transposed by the Act of November 21st 2017 on the sale of package holidays, coupled travel packages and travel services.
  • Consequently, you are entitled to all EU rights applicable to package holidays. Planopli is fully responsible for the proper execution of the entire package holiday.
  • Planopli also has the legally required protection to reimburse you and, if the transport is included in the package holiday, to repatriate you, in the event that it becomes insolvent.

payment info


  • professional guidance
  • intercontinental flight and domestic flights
  • 12 nights in four-star hotels including breakfast
  • local transport and tips bus driver
  • entry tickets
  • travel assistance insurance
  • disaster insurance


  • meals
  • cancellation insurance
  • luggage insurance
  • pocket money: keep in mind €50/day of travel