Norwalk Civic Center | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Norwalk Civic Center

In the early 1960s, the City of Norwalk began planning its new civic center on a twenty-acre parcel at the corner of Norwalk Boulevard and Imperial Highway. The original plan called for a new city hall, court building, library, and auditorium, but only the first three were built (a real shame, since the rendering for the auditorium shows a gigantic, curving building that looked like an eye when viewed head-on).

Architectural firm Kistner, Wright and Wright designed Norwalk City Hall as a one-story square steel box clad in tinted glass and panels covered with vibrant blue and green mosaic tile. Completed in 1965,

the building draws from the Miesian school of Mid-Century Modernism and is surprisingly playful for a government building.

The center of the "box" is actually open, containing a stand-alone circular City Council chamber with a ribbed shell-shaped roof, nestled in a garden courtyard. In 1968-1969, two more buildings joined City Hall in the civic center: the Los Angeles County Southeast District's Superior Courts Building and the Los Cerritos Regional Library. Both were designed by architect William Allen in the New Formalist style, and serve to complement each other very well.

The court building is a symmetrical, monumental, rectangular building with a simple front façade punctuated by vertical panels of ornamental metal screen in geometric shapes. Its recessed entrance features the same screen, highlighted by enormous chandeliers. The library building is lower and less severe than the court building but its recessed entrance, complete with a smaller version of the same geometric screen, echoes the other entrance. This entrance is flanked by two large stand-alone mosaic murals by artist Ben Mayer, depicting California history in abstract map form.

Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Santa Fe Springs Civic Center

Renowned architect and planner William L. Pereira designed the civic heart Santa Fe Springs, creating a grouping of one-story concrete block buildings carefully sited in a landscape that harmoniously combines alleés of trees, lush plantings, and paved plazas and walkways.
Photo from Conservancy archives

Commonwealth Savings Building (Demolished)

Long recognized as an important example of mid-century office design, Gerald Bense's design was one of the first high-rise commercial structures built in the San Fernando Valley.
Valley Beth Shalom
Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Valley Beth Shalom

A sweeping Mid-Century Modern design of brick, glass, and concrete designed by Encino architect Howard R. Lane and including a cornerstone quarried on Mt. Zion.