LABC 2018 Architectural Award Winners Reflect Dynamic Reshaping of Los Angeles Landscape

Culver City’s futuristic Vespertine restaurant takes home Grand Prize

The Los Angeles Business Council today celebrated the winners of its 48th Annual Architectural Awards, honoring projects that embrace innovative design standards to enhance the way we live in Los Angeles. From a competitive pool of more than 275 submissions, 54 projects took home honors, with the Grand Prize awarded to Vespertine, a pioneering new restaurant in Culver City’s Hayden Tract featuring a world-renowned chef and unique design concept.

“As more people visit our city, our focus remains on spreading the economic benefits of tourism to enhance the lives of those who call Los Angeles home.”

“This year we received a historic number of high-quality submissions that embody the extraordinary spirit of creativity and collaboration that makes L.A. a world-class city,” said Mary Leslie, President of the Los Angeles Business Council. “This year’s award winners were especially focused on making urban life more livable and sustainable as well as beautiful. I know L.A. has a bright future in the capable hands of these winners.”

More than 600 leading architects, designers, building owners, developers and city officials gathered at the awards ceremony held at the Beverly Hilton. Winners were selected by a jury panel of industry experts co-chaired by Robert Jernigan, Regional Managing Principal of Gensler, and Nadine Watt, LABC Chair and President of Watt Companies.

For Grand Prize winner Vespertine, the award is the latest accolade celebrating its unique features. The Culver City restaurant has been widely acclaimed by food critics and architects alike for its out-of-the-box culinary style and eye-catching building design, which showcases a curving steel and glass façade as well as an interior garden and intimate dining spaces.

Many of the other winning projects reimagined underused space to address some of L.A.’s biggest challenges, such as rising housing costs and lack of mobility. Winning designs transformed underused parking lots and brick and mortar retail into creative work spaces and transit-oriented developments. The Wilshire Grand Tower, the tallest building west of the Mississippi, took home two awards – another sign that urban sprawl is being replaced by denser, upward development.

The awards also recognized that L.A. is attracting more visitors than ever before with a record-breaking 48.3 million tourists visiting last year. The Community Impact Award, presented by City Councilman Curren Price, was presented to forward-thinking groups who are meeting the needs of a rising tourism industry. Winners included AEG, L.A. Department of Convention & Tourism Development, L.A. Tourism & Convention Board, NBC Universal Hollywood and Metro.

“I am honored to present the Community Impact award to these pioneering organizations that are making sure the economic benefits of tourism are felt by all Angelenos,” said Councilman Price. “As more people visit our city, our focus remains on spreading the economic benefits of tourism to enhance the lives of those who call Los Angeles home.”

Students across Los Angeles were once again encouraged to submit original designs for the 8th annual Julius Shulman Emerging Talent Scholarship Award. This year’s task was to design a transit-oriented development along a future Gold Line extension station in La Verne, featuring each team’s choice of amenities. The award went to the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) for their project designed to use new technologies to change how we interact with our built space.

The Architectural Awards also honored international delegations from Mexico City, Mexico, Auckland, New Zealand, and Guangzhou, China, for architectural achievements within their home countries. The Chinese delegation received the Tripartite Award for the Guangzhou Ballet House, a pilot development for the comprehensive reform of professional artistic performance groups in Guangzhou. Now in its second year, the Tripartite Award fosters collaboration between Guangzhou, Auckland and L.A. as these three cities work toward a shared goal of efficient and sustainable development.

The Wilshire Grand Tower and La Mexicana, a park in the heart of Mexico City, received the Sustainable Real Estate Awards – symbolizing the partnership between L.A. and Mexico City, and a shared commitment to sustainable building practices. Ambassador Nina Nachigian, L.A. Deputy Mayor for International Affairs, presented the awards.

“Los Angeles is a changing, dynamic city. The projects awarded at today’s luncheon represent the type of innovation and forward thinking that our cities need,” said Joshua Ramus, Founding Principal of REX and lead designer of the iconic Seattle Central Library and The Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center. Ramus was the keynote speaker at today’s ceremony.

A full list of honorees and pictures of the winning projects will be available on the Los Angeles Business Council website at

About the Los Angeles Business Council

The Los Angeles Business Council is one of the most effective and influential advocacy and educational organizations in California. For over 70 years, the LABC has had a major impact on public policy by harnessing the power of business and government to promote environmental and economic sustainability in the Los Angeles region. To learn more, please visit