Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Richard Neutra's 1962 Designed Hall of Records 50 Years Old. But How Should it Be Preserved for Another 50 Years?

The Los Angeles County Hall of Records - which no longer stores the County's records - is the only major civic or private building legendary modernist architect Richard Neutra designed and built in the LA area.  This is despite his living in Los Angeles for over 50 years; from 1923 until just before his death in 1970.  His only other  larger projects in Los Angeles, other than private homes, were mainly several schools, a series of apartment buildings starting with the unjustly ignored 1927/1928  Jardinette Apartments (the first international style apartment building built in the US) and a handful of small office buildings such as the one at 621 S. Westmoreland.

Unfortunately, as LA OBSERVED points out - the Hall of Records building needs considerable conservation work and it is no longer used for its original purpose.  Another long term problem is that its small floor plates make it less than perfect for the needs of a major government agency.

The good news is that with the new Grand Park next door and the proposed conversion of the old Federal Courthouse Building one block away - the Hall of Records is now an ideal candidate for conversion into a new type of seen day a week 24 hour a day use to help enliven the area during the times all the government buildings are closed.

But since its windowless sections are not conducive for residential uses such as are proposed for the old Federal Building - its highest and best use might be a combination of creative office uses and art galleries and retail stores featured designed oriented products.  Uses that would be open nights and weekends when the surrounding government uses along the Grand Park are closed.

For that reason, it might also be an ideal home for the LA based California Design Museum.and the Los Angeles Toy and Amusements Museum.

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