Sepulveda Tunnel Under Mulholland Drive Los Angeles

Architecture and Hidden Gems in Los Angeles

Architecture?  In Los Angeles?

Yes, we do have architecture in Los Angeles; we have towering Greek temples, shimmering movie castles, freeway passes that fly through the air and gothic bridges that would make any troll proud.

LA has lots of famous buildings and websites to show them off.  I wanted to show you some of the not-so famous little treasures you might find along the way.

The Sepulveda Blvd. Tunnel
Under Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles

sepulveda Tunnel elementThe Sepulveda Tunnel runs underneath Mulholland Drive and connects the San Fernando Valley with the west side of Los Angeles.  Two lanes run north, one runs south.  It was opened in 1930.  The tunnel facade contains elements of Greek and Roman architecture.  Inside, the tunnel is lined with tiles and has a tiny sidewalk.

Coming up from the Valley, Sepulveda is a steep winding road with lots of hairpin turns.  Sleek sports cars slip past you before you even hear them.  Fat, lumbering SUVs cut you off, making you wonder about those rollover statistics.  They are doiing major work on the 405 so be aware that this stretch of over-used road will be even more gridlocked than usual.  At least it will give you more time to admire the architecture! 

Approaching from the West Side, Sepulveda is fairly straight and steep.  It runs parallel with the 405 freeway until ducking into the hills.  At night and on weekends Sepulveda has fairly light traffic.  That means most people may be going pretty fast on this road.

I have seen bicyclists going through this tunnel on the weekends.  It always reminds me of the beginning of that Warren Beatty movie where he gets creamed in a tunnel.  It is not a structure you notice – unless it is rush hour.  Then you will have plenty of time to ponder the facade.  We do not recommend wandering around this area on foot – or bicycle.

There is another Sepulveda Tunnel which runs underneath LAX.  This tunnel is not marked, so we’re just assuming it shares the same name.

sepulveda tunnel falling rock sign angelcityart

A bent Falling Rock sign at the entrance to the Sepulveda Tunnel. One lane runs north, into the San Fernando Valley.

sepulveda Tunnel element

The upper corners have this symbol.  It could be a ram’s head or two circles and a layered shield.

Los Angeles Sepulveda Blvd Tunnel

No longer a dirt highway, Sepulveda Blvd. runs from the southern edges of Los Angeles to the north.
My sister helped me take this and most of the other
photos.  I shot and she drove the getaway car.
Not a bad caper, eh?

sepulveda tunnel corner element

A view of the facade facing north.  This side
has fading paint at the top.  As a result, the
cement texture and interesting shading shows
through.  Branches of oak and vines hang down
from above.  Just for a second pretend you have discovered the secret entrance to a Roman temple.


The bottom of the Sepulveda Blvd. tunnel facade appears Roman.  A tiny sidewalk for brave souls runs through the tunnel. Outside the paint is unmatched and peeling.

— And don’t you just want to get a broom?

North side of sepulveda tunnel-ACA

This side faces south.  Fresh paint probably means it is covering graffiti.  Under the ram’s head is another architectural element framed in beveled cement.  The element looks like an old electrical outlet cover. It has bolts and appears to be metal under the paint.


If you know  who designed this,
please make a comment on my blog and let me know!