AKA: Stuart Company, Main Offices #2, Pasadena, CA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings; built works - social and civic buildings - libraries

Designers: Architects Orange (AO) (firm); Chattel Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Incorporated (firm); Stone, Edward Durrell and Associates (firm); Edward Cadavona (architect); Robert Jay Chattel (architect); Edward Durell Stone (architect)

Dates: constructed 1956-1958

2 stories

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Los Angeles, CA

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New York architect Edward Durrell Stone (1902-1978) had an international practice, and he designed a number of buildings in Northern and Southern CA. He maintained a western office in Palo Alto, CA, nearby to the huge Stanford Medical Center project completed in 1959. In an 2004 article in the journal Future Anterior, architectural historian Lauren Weiss Bricker noted how the Stuart Pharmaceutical Company Headquarters fulfilled President Arthur O. Hanisch's idealized notion of what a suburban research and office building could be: "The grade of the property drops allowing the insertion of a second, lower floor. The main floor houses office, laboratory and storage space; the manufacturing processes are located below. A gracious atrium with an open staircase internally links the upper floor with a garden court and dining lounge. Externally, a swimming pool surrounded by a terrace, pool house and shade pavilion complete the composition. In their collaborative design for the Stuart Company, Church and Stone captured the spirit of corporate patriarchy of their client, Arthur O. Hanisch, Stuart Company’s original owner, who wanted to: "...build a completely new building concept. He wanted his building to conform to the landscaping, not in the general California way but in a way that would combine timeless beauty with increased efficiency and a utilization of the Southern California climate to make for maximum comfort for his employees, both in working and recreation areas." (See Lauren Weiss Bricker, "History in Motion: A Glance at Historic Preservation in California," Future Anterior, volume 1, number 2, Fall 2004, p. 9-10.) Hanisch began Stuart in 1941, to produce and market a vitamin supplement, first called "Calplex" and later rebranded as "the Stuart Formula Liquid," that he had developed with Caltech biochemistry professor Henry Borsook (1897-1984). The company became successful and branched out into other products, including its most famous, Mylanta, an indigestion remedy. Hanisch died in 1966, but Stuart managed to remain independent until it was swallowed up by Johnson and Johnson/Merck Pharmaceuticals Company in 1991. Johnson/Merck divested itself of the property soon thereafter, and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority purchased it in 1994. It became part of a condominium complex in 2006.

Occupying a 9.4 acre parcel, the Stuart Pharmaceutical Company Headquarters has all of the hallmarks of Edward Durrell Stone's 1950s suburban buildings: patterned screens, reflecting pools, courtyards, formal, landscaped grounds, and long, ground-hugging forms. The screens were a key part of his work, providing decorative interest and privacy for rooms with large windows. Archival information on the design and construction of the Stuart Pharmaceutical Company Building is held at the Huntington Library, Edward Durrell Stone Collection. (See) Arthur Hanisch and his wife, Marian, had a son named Stuart who was born just a few years before the company was launched. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) named the Stuart Building one of its five best buildings of 1958, giving it a national First Honor Award.

Additions were made to the Stuart Headquarters in 1960 and 1970. This office building was transformed in 2006 into housing, creating what was called "The Stuart at Sierra Madre Villa Apartment Homes." The main office building was transformed into a performing arts complex five years later by architects Robert Chattel and Architects Orange.

Partially demolished. Stone's main office/research building remained.

PCAD id: 17934