UCLA Faculty Center
UPDATE: following years of uncertainty and the Conservancy placing the UCLA Faculty Center on our Watch List, we have received news that UCLA is now embracing the preservation of this unique Modernist building, primarily through reinvestment in its systems and overall maintenance.
Reportedly UCLA has entered into a formal Affiliation Agreement with the Faculty Club. The University has also invested $10 million toward funding a two-year seismic and infrastructure renovation of the Faculty Center, which commenced in 2020 and was completed in 2022.
This is good news and we applaud all who helped make this happen, including the Faculty Club and UCLA leadership.
In October 2015, the California State Historical Resources Commission rejected the Conservancy’s nomination to list the UCLA Faculty Center in the California Register of Historical Resources.
Despite support from the community and with strong opposition to the nomination from the UCLA administration, the Commission deemed that the building as not a good example of Mid-Century Modern ranch-style architecture.
The Conservancy began working to obtain California Register recognition for the building after UCLA proposed in January 2011 to demolish the facility and build a new conference center in its place. After about nine months of protest from faculty members and Westwood residents, UCLA decided to move the conference center near Bruin Plaza.
The Conservancy pursued a California Register nomination to ensure that UCLA would account for the building’s historic significance before considering its demolition in the future. UCLA and the Conservancy both submitted reports conducted by external consultants, as a part of the State Historical Resources Commission’s review process. The two entities provided conflicting reports regarding the significance of the Faculty Center and whether its subsequent renovations throughout the years significantly altered the building.
We disagree and remain disappointed with this decision.
In August 2010, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) proposed a Residential Conference Center project that would demolish the campus’ 1959 Faculty Center.
Many nearby residents and members of the faculty opposed the project, including more than 200 people who signed a petition asking the Faculty Center Board of Governors to poll its members to gauge support for the demolition. In the poll of 1,084 members, 75% wanted to see the current building remain.
An ad hoc committee called Save the Faculty Center also formed to oppose the project. In February 2011, the Conservancy responded to the Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the project, emphasizing the need to evaluate the Faculty Center as a historic resource.
In our comments on the NOP, we urged UCLA to fully evaluate and examine preservation alternatives, including consideration of alternative sites for the proposed Residential Conference Center.
The Conservancy believes the UCLA Faculty Center is eligible for listing in the California Register as distinctive and rare example of the Modern Ranch style applied to the university faculty club property type.
The Conservancy’s California Register nomination for the property had the support of the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission and received a positive staff recommendation from the California State Office of Historic Preservation, which recommended listing the UCLA Faculty Center in the California Register.
We disagree and remain disappointed with this decision by the State Historic Resources Commission’s decision to reject the nomination.