Photo by L.A. Conservancy

Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration / Los Angeles County Hall of Administration

The Los Angeles County Hall of Administration, along with the adjacent Los Angeles County Courthouse, were designed simultaneously by a team of noted, local architects and artists of the period. Both buildings were conceived as part of the 1947 Civic Center Master Plan, a monumental plan that transformed a large portion of Bunker Hill through the westward expansion of the Civic Center and created the east-west axis of government buildings that frame today’s Grand Park.

The County Hall of Administration was completed in 1960 and serves as the seat of the county government. Prior to its construction, the Board of Supervisors and other administrative and legal functions of the county government had been housed in the former 1911 Hall of Records. At the time of its completion, the Hall of Administration was noted for its lavishly appointed interior, which was critiqued by some at the time, including former Supervisor Kenneth Hahn. The Hall of Administration was in later years renamed in his honor.

 

The monumentally scaled County Hall of Administration spans two city blocks with prominent entrances facing both Temple Street and along its south façade facing Grand Park. The building is clad in panels of ceramic veneer with the lower floors featuring polished red granite. Hallmarks of its Late Moderne design include its spare detailing and smooth surfaces, strong horizontal emphasis and angular volumes, bands of windows within bezeled frames, and integrated planting beds. The Temple Street entrance features a monumental portico and colonnade of polished red granite, set back by a landscaped forecourt. The south façade facing Grand Park features a similar portico and colonnade.

A covered terrace encircles the top floor of the Hall of Administration, while long, covered balconies on the floor below form a prominent feature of the building’s design. Providing visual contrast are several vertical grid-like screens fashioned from architectural terra cotta.

The interior of the Hall of Administration is lavishly appointed. Walls are clad in polished Italian marble, while polished metal is used for numerous fixtures on the interior.

The design of the County Hall of Administration also features two integrated sculptures by sculptor Albert Stewart. Copies of his Mosaic Law and Declaration of Independence sculptures, which also appear as part of a triptych piece above the Grand Avenue entrance to the adjacent Courthouse, are finished in gold-glazed terra cotta and attached to the polished red granite base of the Hall’s south entrance, facing Grand Park.

The County Hall of Administration, along with the adjacent County Courthouse, were both identified as eligible for listing in the California Register in 2009. They are also contributing structures in the Los Angeles Civic Center Historic District, which was formally determined eligible for listing in the National Register in 2010.

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