Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design


A trip to LA City Hall

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

City Hall is where people go to get stuff done. Citizens present their case, planners and policymakers debate the wisdom of their choices. Everyone is almost too busy to appreciate their surroundings. Everyone except me, that is.

I suppose that means I don't get to visit often enough, but I still found myself awe-struck at how much symbolism and beauty they were able to incorporate inside:

It was a cloudy day when I passed by, making this already ghostly building even paler.

Here's my fleeting glimpse:

This is what greeted me as I stepped out to the third floor elevator. This is perhaps my favorite section of the hall. So many people passed by and I wondered how many of them took the time to look at the art just above their heads.

This one reminded me of the frescos in the Sistine Chapel.

Pegasus was always my favorite mythological character.

Ah.... You can't have LA without the movie cameras rolling right?

Past the elevator, you get to the rotunda, a highlight I am told.

Different types of marble were used in the construction of these columns including Curly Green, Tinos and Verde Campan Melange. I wouldn't know the difference but their various striations made me think as much.

The ceiling has figures that represent Art, Public Service, Government, Protection, Trust, Education, Health and Law. The cast bronze electrolier is striking even if you didn't know the silhouettes were of Native Indians, Vasca Nunez de Balboa to John Drake Sloat, who raised the U.S flag at Monterey in 1846.

After passing through the rotunda, I found myself at the City Planning meeting. When I looked up, this seal was staring right at me. Founded as far back as 1781, Los Angeles feels like such a young city still, maybe it's the influx of dreamers constantly moving in.

There was a second great ceiling on the same floor. It said: "The master's of education hold in their hands the future of the world." Very true.

I wandered a bit more and found this bit of space history in City Hall.

It says the flag was flown on Space Shuttle Challenger, which carried the first crew of seven astronauts in space 1984. This flag is almost as old as I am.

I didn't stay too long because I was worried the guards might catch me loitering, so I finally got some fresh air outside.

City Hall hosted a farmer's market the day I was there. That's where I found these lovely things.

Right across the 1920s building is this futuristic Thom Mayne and Morphosis-designed Caltrans District 7 building.

This signpost means adventure for me, so many cities yet to see, but did you happen to notice that Makati is an LA sister city? That makes me feel closer to home.

You can find a lot of great information on the Los Angeles City Hall at Big Orange Landmarks. I don't know how he gets the info, but it sounds quite authoritative to me. He also got to see a lot more of City Hall than I did, which means I'll be back to check these out!


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