AKA: Los Angeles City Hall #3, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - city halls

Designers: Allied Architects Association of Los Angeles (firm); Heinsbergen Decorating Company, Interior Designers (firm); Kaplan Chen Kaplan, Architects (firm); Levin and Associates, Architects (firm); Martin, A.C. Partners, Incorporated, (ACMP) (firm); Youssef, Nabih and Associates (firm); John Corneley Wilson Austin (architect); Chen (architect); Anthony T. Heinsbergen (interior designer); Antoon B. Heinsbergen (interior designer/muralist); Barbara Kaplan (architect); David Kaplan (architect); Brenda Levin (architect); Albert Carey Martin Sr. (architect); Christopher C. Martin (architect); Kemper Nomland (architect); Donald Berthold Parkinson (architect); John Parkinson (architect); Herman Sachs (artist/color consultant/educator); Austin Cruver Whittlesey (architect); Nabih Youssef (structural engineer)

Dates: constructed 1926-1928

32 stories

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200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012-4801

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Gebhard and Winter Los Angeles Guide, 1994 says "South Spring Street;" North Spring Street and West Temple Street

Designed by the Allied Architects Association of Los Angeles, including John C. Austin, John and Donald B. Parkinson and Austin Whittlesey; Herman Sachs and Anthony Heinsbergen painted murals on the interior; the movie exhibitor and impressario, Sid Grauman, (owner of the Grauman's Chinese and Egyptian Theatres in Hollywood), produced the three-day building dedication in 04/1928; Austin C. Whittlesey was credited with designing the City Hall's interior; the formal massing of the building was strongly influenced by the work of Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, particularly his Los Angeles Public Library Downtown Branch of 1922-1926. The Allied Architects of Los Angeles also referred to a favorite monumental precedent in their City Hall design: the Mausoleum of Mausolus and Artemisia II of Caria at Halicarnassus, Asia Minor (353-350 BC) (now modern Turkey). Since its remnants were disinterred in the 1850s by the British archaeologist and diplomat, Charles Thomas Newton (1816-1894), speculative reconstructions of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus have inspired American architects trained in Beaux-Arts methods such as John Russell Pope (1874-1937), Frank Ray Walker (1877-1949) and Harry F. Weeks (1871-1935). The Los Angeles City Hall, like Grant's Tomb (New York, NY, 1891-1897), the House of the Temple, Washington, DC, (1911-1915) and the Indiana War Memorial, Indianapolis, IN, (1923-1924) had some basic elements of the Halicarnassus tomb, including a ziggurat top, a prominent portico, and a pronounced, monumental base and stairs. There was no clear architectural formula (as there was no definitive reconstruction of the tomb in the 1920s), but the presence of the ziggurat as a crown, is often attributed to the influence of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Between 1928-1964, the Los Angeles City Hall remained the tallest building (by civic ordinance) in the city at 454 feet. Various figures are given for the number of floors in the building, from 27-32, depending on whether basement floors are counted. The City Halls's renovation in the late 1990s received wide recognition. The American Public Works Association (APWA) presented the Los Angeles City Hall its 2001 Historic Preservation Award. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) gave the City Hall its 2001 AIA Building Team of the Year Award; the five-member Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission (formed in 1962) bestowed its 2002 award to the building, as well.

The City Hall underwent an elaborate renovation 1989-1993, and after the Northridge Earthquake in 1994; its base isolation system was designed to withstand a future 8.2-magnitude earthquake. This retrofitting project had a budget of $300 million included the installation of 526 isolators and 68 viscous dampers to absorb seismic motion. Nabih Youssef and Associates served as the Seismic Consulting Engineers utilizing dampers produced by Taylor Devices, Incorporated. One of the original architects, A.C. Martin Partners, supervised the architecture and engineering on the retrofit. Levin and Associates, a leading historic preservation architecture firm in Los Angeles and Kaplan Chen Kaplan Architects teamed up to preserve the city hall's historic fabric. The renovated Los Angeles City Hall #3 opened in 07/2001.

Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument (1976-03-24): 150

PCAD id: 157