FINE ARTS BUILDING
811 W. 7th Street
Walker and Eisen, 1926
Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #125
The Fine Arts Building is a wonderfully detailed Romanesque Revival structure, unique in Los Angeles. Designed by Walker and Eisen, the twelve-story building features a two-story Spanish Renaissance "courtyard" lobby with a galleried mezzanine. The Fine Arts Building was originally intended to provide working areas for artisans, who could also display their wares in the bronze and glass showcased in the lobby.
The walls of the lobby are detailed in tile and terra cotta block designed to look like stone. The decorative work is by the famous Batchelder Studios. The figures representing Architecture, Painting, Textile Arts and Ceramics were executed under Ernest Batchelder's personal supervision at a cost of $150,000. The original bronze figures throughout the foyer and corridor are by Burt Johnson.
The wealth of detail displayed in the lobby is also evident on the building's exterior. The main entry consists of a two-story Romanesque arch, decorated in terra cotta with griffins, gargoyles, birds, and flowers. Elsewhere on the façade are stylized fish, flute players, and assorted fantastic creatures.
Colossal reclining sculpted figures of Architecture (with a symbolic capital) and Sculpture (with a torso) designed by Burt Johnson, rest on a corbel table above the windows on the second and third levels. Higher on the façade are recessed marble spandrels with black diamond-shaped inlays. At the top, sculpted figures flank the arcaded central section, which is crowned by an arcaded pediment above an open gallery.
The Fine Arts Building was restored and renovated in 1983 by developer Ratkovich and Bowers, and architect Brenda Levin.