Los Angeles Central Library
The Los Angeles Central Library was the last work of major American architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue. When it opened in 1926, the building's expanses of unadorned concrete and skyscraper-like profile heralded Modern architecture. At the same time, it alluded to ancient Egyptian, Roman, Byzantine, and various Islamic civilizations, as well as to Spanish Colonial and other revival styles.
Ornamental and symbolic artworks are integral to the library's design. The limestone sculptures on the building's exterior, by artist Lee Lawrie, represent various disciplines and literary figures. The brilliantly colored tile pyramid at the building's summit features a sunburst and is topped by a handheld torch symbolizing the light of knowledge.
The second floor of the library features a high-domed rotunda exploding with light and color. At the center of the dome is a stylized sunburst and an illuminated globe chandelier with the signs of the zodiac. On the surrounding walls, twelve murals painted by Dean Cornwell in 1933 depict the history of California.
The proposed demolition of the Central Library in the 1970s led to the formation of the Los Angeles Conservancy in 1978.