36 Los Angeles Halll of Records - Facade (E)
Los Angeles County Hall of Records, 1962
320 W Temple St
Richard J Neutra, Robert Alexander; Honnold and Rex; Herman Charles Light and James Friend, Joseph Young ("Topographical Map" Mosaic and Fountain)
Front facade, side profile.
"The Sixties turn 50" is the 2010 campaign for the Los Angeles Conservancy's Modern Committee, which seeks to call attention to Post-World War II architecture, and celebrate the rich architectural history of Los Angeles County that start turning 50 this decade. The Richard Neutra Modernist Hall of Records, built in 1962, falls into this catagory.
Like so many citizens and tourists of LA, it's easy to pass the Hall of Records and dismiss it -- as did David Gebhard and Robert Winters in their book Architecture in Los Angeles -- as just middle aged: The Hall of Records is functional, but ". . . as an element within the Civic Center it does not contribute much," they wrote. Time, however, is the great equalizer. The Hall of Records has aged well, and now stands out in he Civic Center as an architectural masterpiece. Once just middled aged, it's now uber cool!
Green (before Green Architecture), the 15 story building includes many forward-thinking features. Huge louvers, sans Neutra's famed 1947 Kaufmann House, eliminate solar gain before the sun hits the glass. Their silver coating provides ambient natural light, eliminating glare, and the hollow panels themselves act as flues, reducing air conditioning costs. Smaller fins on the North side of the building reduce employee eye strain and UV ray exposure. The use of drop-ceiling luminous lighing was pioneering.
A blessing and a curse, the Hall of Records has remained virtually untouched. Unremodelled, the original features of Neutra's design have have been preserved. Obviously well cared for, the building on the whole, however, appears a bit tattered and in need of a well-deserved restoration.
Surrounding the building are several inviting courtyards for employees to relax at during their breaks At the main entrance on Temple Street is a marvelous reflecting pool and abstract and art installation/fountain by local artist Joseph Young. The "Topographical Map" pays homage to the water resources and mountains of Los Angeles County. The piece was restored in 2007 by Donna Williams.
Wikipedia Richard Neutra: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Neutra
Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Joseph Young:
Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee: www.modcom.org/