Santa Fe Art Colony
This former industrial complex was built in phases in 1916, 1924 and 1953 to house the C.B. Van Vorst Furniture Manufacturing Company. Located at 2349-2421 S. Santa Fe Avenue south of E. Washington Boulevard, the property consists of buildings spanning two industrial parcels.
The property remained in use as a factory for seventy years (1916-1986) and was subsequently converted into live-work artist lofts and renamed the Santa Fe Art Colony in 1988.
SurveyLA identified the property as eligible for listing in the National Register as an excellent example of an early twentieth-century manufacturing plant and daylight factory building in Los Angeles' primary industrial district. In June 2019, the Conservancy nominated the building for local Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) recognition. On July 18, the Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) voted in support to take the HCM nomination under consideration. The CHC will next schedule a site visit and then the nomination will come back at a subsequent meeting (TBD) of the CHC.
This former industrial plant was established by the C.B. Van Vorst Company as a furniture and mattress manufacturing company, which operated from the complex through the 1950s. From the 1950s through 1986, the company that produced Terry Tuck robes and loungewear operated out of the complex.
In 1986, the property was purchased by the Santa Fe Art Colony (SFAC), which was established with CRA and HUD funding as a rent-restricted live-work complex of 80 artists. Santa Fe Art Colony was the city’s first publicly subsidized artists’ housing.
The property consists of four buildings: a factory, a mill, and a storage/showroom building, all constructed in 1916, and an assembly building added in 1924. The factory building was designed by architect John M. Cooper, who specialized in industrial architecture in the Los Angeles area and also designed the Globe Mills complex.
The two-story factory building and one-story storage/showroom building, both located along Santa Fe Avenue, are vernacular in style and feature brick cladding, flat roofs with stepped parapets, and tripartite wood and industrial steel sash windows. The factory building also displays an elaborate main entrance and decorative tile on the facade.
To the rear of the factory building is the mill building, with a gabled roof with stepped parapet, board-and-batten wood siding, and industrial steel sash windows. Behind the storage/showroom building is an assembly building, with a flat roof and parapet, brick cladding, and industrial steel sash windows.
The former C.B. Van Vorst Co. manufacturing plant is an important link to Los Angeles’s industrial past and the manufacturing companies that located in the city’s primary industrial district.
The complex is also significant as an excellent example of the daylight factory building type, which are characterized by bays of large industrial sash windows, skylights, or other roof forms to maximize the amount of light reaching the interior.