Los Angeles Public Library was built by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue in a style that mixed Byzantine, Egyptian, modern, and Spanish themes, and opened in 1926. Most of the terra-cotta bas-reliefs were done by Lee Oskar Lawrie, and entitled "Meaning and Purpose of Library". In 1986 two fires destroyed a large portion of the Library, making the building unusable, and destroying more than 400,000 books. Through a Save the Books campaign, launched by Mayor Tom Bradley and ARCO's Lodwrick M. Cook, over $10 million was raised to refurbish the building and purchase library materials. Many of the original decorations of the Goodhue building, such as murals were preserved, and a new wing, designed by Norman Pfeiffer of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer and named after Tom Bradley, was added to the building and opened in 1993. Jud Fine designed the sculptural program, called Spine, for the Maguire Gardens (named after Maguire-Thomas Partners, heavy investors into the real estate surrounding the Library), which conceptually links the archaic past to the post-literate present across a multi-cultural landscape. Los Angeles Public Library has an excellent official page describing the architectural and artistic features of the building.
Information about the original building, from Architectural Digest, volume 6, no. 4, p. 16:
Architect: Bertram Grosvenor GoodhueArtworks and descriptions:
Associate Architect: Carleton Monroe Winslow
Bronze Tablet: Architectural Iron Works, Inc.
Colton Cement: Oro Grande Lime & Stone Company
Doors and Interior Woodwork: Southern California Hardwood & Manufacturing Company
Draperies: Barker Bros. Inc.
Exterior Stucco: California Stucco Products Company
Floor Tile: Galdding, McBean & Company
Hardware: Earle Hardware Mfg. Company
Heating and Ventilating Motors: Westinghouse Electric & Mfg. Company
Ornamental Iron, Bronze and Hollow Metal Doors: A. J. Bayer Company
Painting Contractors: Arenz-Warren Company, Inc.
Refrigerating Machinery: The Carbondale Machine Company
Stone Work: Los Angeles Cut Stone & Marble Company
Temperature Regulation: Johnson Service Company
Ventilating: Berg Heating & Ventilating Company
Ventilating Equipment: The B. F. Sturtevant Company
Do not reproduce information from this site without acknowledgement of the artists and their works, or of the authors of this site.
For comments contact Ruth Wallach, USC Libraries.