AKA: Los Angeles County, Courthouse Administration Building and Mall, Los Angeles, CA; Mosk, Stanley, Courthouse, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - courthouses

Designers: Austin, Field, and Fry, Architects (firm); Martin, A.C. and Associates, Architects (firm); Stanton and Stockwell, Architects (firm); Williams, Paul R. and Associates (firm); Wilson and Associates (firm); William Allen (architect); John Corneley Wilson Austin (architect); Albert Carey Martin Jr. (architect); Jesse Earl Stanton (architect); William Francis Stockwell (architect); Paul Revere Williams (architect); Adrian Jennings Wilson (architect)

Dates: constructed 1956-1958

8 stories

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111 North Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3107

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An association of four significant Los Angeles firms--Austin, Field, and Fry, Paul R. Williams, Stanton and Stockwell, and Wilson and Associates--pooled their talent to design this courthouse. Architect Paul R. Williams (1894-1980) had a close professional relationship with John C.W. Austin (1870-1963), having worked for him as both a Designer and Chief Draftsman between 1921 and 1924. The location of the courthouse had been set aside in the 1947 Civic Center Master Plan; construction on this badly-needed facility began in 1956 and was finished two years later, with an official dedication on Halloween, 10/31/1958. This building was the first dedicated space built for the Los Angeles Superior Court since the previous 1891 courthouse, a structure that had suffered serious damage in 1933's Long Beach Earthquake. Court officials renamed the building in 2002 for Stanley Mosk (1912-2001,) who had served as CA's Attorney General (1959–1964) and its longest-tenured State Supreme Court Justice (1964-2001).

Located on a noticeable slope,the immense Mosk Courthouse covered two city blocks and was configured in an H-shaped plan, with the building's long axis (comprising the center line of the H,) pointed southeast and northwest. Portions of the H had different heights; the North Hill Street (southeast) facade rose six stories, the North Grand Avenue (northwest) side, eight. In 2014, it had two main administrative parts. According the Los Angeles Superior Court's web page: "Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Hill St. handles both Civil Unlimited and Civil Limited matters. Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Grand Ave. handles Family Law, Probate and Small Claims matters." (See "Stanley Mosk Courthouse,"Accessed 02/06/2014.) The section A clock on the courthouse's eastern facade contained numerals from clocks functioning in the first Los Angeles Superior, "Clocktower" Courthouse (1859) and the second, red sandstone building (1891). According to the Los Angeles Conservancy: "The Hill Street entrance features terra cotta relief sculptures, designed by sculptor Donal Hord, depicting allegorical representations of Truth, Law and Justice. The Grand Avenue entrance features an integrated, terra cotta sculptural group titled Foundation of Law designed by sculptor Albert Stewart, with three figures representing the legal traditions upon which America was founded: Mosaic Law, with Moses representing Judeo-Christian heritage, Magna Carta, with a 13th century knight representing English Common Law, and Declaration of Independence, depicted by Thomas Jefferson." (See "Stanley Mosk Courthouse / Los Angeles County Courthouse,"Accessed 02/06/2014.) The Mosk Building was Modern in style, but did not have the light, curtain wall of other notable contemporary skyscrapers, such as the Crown Zellerbach Building in San Francisco (1959) or the Norton Building in Seattle (1959). In comparison, it looked heavy, retaining some features of WPA Moderne buildings, most notably on the austere Hill Street facade. Tel: 213.974.5201 (2014).

PCAD id: 10660