Title Guarantee & Trust Building | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Michael Locke

Title Guarantee & Trust Building

The Title Guarantee & Trust Building is one of the most striking Art Deco structures in Los Angeles.

For the detailing, architects John and Donald Parkinson followed the lead provided by the much-publicized 1926 Chicago Tribune Tower. In addition to such Gothic touches as shields and gargoyle-like drainspouts, the building is crowned with a Gothic tower complete with stylized flying buttresses.

The steel-framed building is clad in glazed terra cotta and rises from a granite base. Piers surround the recessed windows, accentuating the verticality of the structure and extending above the roofline to create a parapet effect.

Everything above the twelfth floor is unoccupied space, a design feature that allowed the building to extend beyond the 150-foot height limit in effect at the time of construction.

The interior elevator lobby is decorated with six murals by Hugo Ballin celebrating various phases of Southern California history. Saber-toothed cats are shown at the La Brea Tar Pits, and one panel illustrates the 1876 arrival of the railroad. The ‘modern’ panel depicts the elements that led to Los Angeles’ rise to power: the Owens Valley aqueduct, derricks, machinery, and a modern building – the Title Guarantee & Trust.

The building is now loft-style apartments and is known as the Title Guarantee Building Lofts.

Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

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