AKA: Los Angeles University Cathedral, Los Angeles, CA; United Artists Theater, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Heinsbergen Decorating Company, Interior Designers (firm); Scofield Engineering Construction Company (firm); Walker and Eisen, Architects (firm); Charles Howard Crane (architect); Percy Augustus Eisen (architect); Antoon B. Heinsbergen (interior designer/muralist); Edson Mason Scofield (building contractor); Albert Raymond Walker (architect)

Dates: constructed 1927

3 stories

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933 South Broadway
Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90015-1609

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The United Artists Office Building and Theatre was a notable Spanish Gothic/Art Deco skyscraper, completed in 1927. While its ornamentation was drawn from revivalist sources and not the Art Deco vocabulary. its soaring vertical design elements--seen most starkly in its unbroken spandrels separating window pairs--came from contemporary skyscraper design standards.

Building History

The Los Angeles architectural firm of Walker and Eisen, associated with the Detroit architect, C. Howard Crane (1885-1952), on the design of the United Artists Office Building and Theatre. Walker and Eisen had responsibility for the office building, Crane for the theatre design. This venue was the prime location for premieres of United Artists movies, a company founded by the Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, among others. Pickford operated the steam shovel during the movie palace's groundbreaking, attended by Los Angeles Mayor George Edward Cryer, and silent stars John Barrymore, Norma Talmadge, Buster Keaton, and others on 03/01/1927. Crane's theatre seated 2,141 (2,214 according to historian David Naylor [p. 218]), and was done in a Spanish Gothic melange, supposedly based on a cathedral model in Segovia, Spain; it is one of the few designs--possibly the only--by Crane on the West Coast.

The office building surrounding the United Artists Theatre housed (in 2003) the Los Angeles University Cathedral, a religious organization; the "Jesus Saves" signs on the roof are designated Los Angeles Historical landmarks. Later owners of the UA Building and Theatre were Gene and Melissa Scott, who used the buildings in part for their "Los Angeles University Cathedral." The Scotts' Wescott Christian Center, Incorporated, sold the complex to CT-based REIT Greenfield Partners for $11 million. This group, in turn, leased the entire complex to the Ace Hotel chain, founded in Seattle by Alex Calderwood, Wade Weigel, and Doug Herrick. The Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, set to open in late 2013 would have 180 rooms and include the renovated UA Theatre.

Building Notes

Walker and Eisen designed the 13-story office tower in which the United Artists (UA) Theatre (later the Texaco Building) was embedded. For approximately 20 years after its construction, the UA Building was the tallest non-governmental building in the city. The Scofield Engineering-Construction Company operated 3 shifts 24 hours a day between 07-11/1927 to finish the UA Theatre and the surrounding office tower in record time.

In the early 1930s, Chauncey Haines, Jr., (1898-1981) worked as the organist at the United Artists Theatre.


A mezzanine was removed in 1955 to make room for the new wide-format Todd-AO projection system.

PCAD id: 758