AKA: Clune's Auditorium and Office Building, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA; Philharmonic Auditorium Building, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings; built works - performing arts buildings

Designers: Neher, Otto H., Architect (firm); Whittlesey, Charles F., Architect (firm); Otto H. Neher (architect); Charles Frederick Whittlesey (architect)

Dates: constructed 1905-1906, demolished 1985

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427 West 5th Street
Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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Overview

Located across the street from Pershing Square, this fancifully styled, mixed-use building housed both offices and a large, 2600-seat auditorium. In popular parlance, the building was known by various names, including the Temple Auditorium, Clune's Theater Beautiful, the Philharmonic Auditorium, or simply the Auditorium Building. It stood on the site of the former Hazard's Pavilion (1887) that was demolished in 1905 to erect this income-generating property for the Temple Baptist Church. At the time of its construction, the Temple Auditorium Building was the largest reinforced concrete building in CA; its theatre utilized no columns, a new concept, providing patrons unobstructed views of the stage.

Building History

The building opened as the Temple Auditorium Building in 1906, a $350,000 project of the Temple Baptist Church and a syndicate of investors. The building's architect, Charles F. Whittlesey (1867-1941), had worked for Adler and Sullivan in Chicago, IL, and knew that firm's remarkable Auditorium Theatre (1889). The nested arches of the Temple Auditorium recalled those of the earlier Chicago theatrical venue.

TIn 1914, the impresario, William H. "Billy" Clune (1862-1927), leased the auditorium for the purpose of exhibiting silent films there. (See "Auditorium becomes palace for pictures," Los Angeles Times, 04/26/1914, part V, p. 18.) Clune would go on to operate Clune's Broadway Theatre in Los Angeles, Clune's Santa Ana Theatre, Clune's Pasadena Theatre, and Clune's Isis Theatre in San Diego, among others.

In 1919, the lawyer and heir to a MT mining fortune, William Andrews Clark, Jr., (1877-1934) provided the funding to start a philharmonic orchestra in Los Angeles. (Clark also funded the Clark Library at UCLA following his death in 1934.) played its first season in Trinity Auditorium, but switched to Clune's Theatre Beautiful in 1920. The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (LAPO) played in this venue until 1964, and over the years, the building became known as "Philharmonic Auditorium." The LAPO moved to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion when it opened.

Building Notes

Constructed just before and during the San Francisco Earthquake, builders were conscious of seismic safety; Whittlesey was an expert in reinforced concrete design and this facility was billed as California's largest reinforced building at the time of its construction.

Demolition

Clune's Auditorium Building was demolished in the 1980s to make room for a high-rise. This tower was never erected.

On 06/05/2007, a large residential development, Park Fifth, was to be built on this lot.

PCAD id: 129