Fine Arts Building (Los Angeles)

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Fine Arts Building
Fine Arts Building of Los Angeles.png
Fine Arts Building Los Angeles
Location811 West 7th Street, Los Angeles
Coordinates34°02′57″N 118°15′32″W / 34.0492°N 118.2590°W / 34.0492; -118.2590Coordinates: 34°02′57″N 118°15′32″W / 34.0492°N 118.2590°W / 34.0492; -118.2590
Architectural style(s)Romanesque Revival [1]
DesignatedApril 17, 1974
Reference no.125

The landmark Fine Arts Building is located at 811 West 7th Street in Downtown Los Angeles, California. Also known as the Global Marine House, it was declared a historic cultural monument in 1974.


The building was designed by the architects Albert Raymond Walker (1881–1958) and Percy Augustus Eisen (1885–1946) in 1927.[2] It is a compact twelve-storey block on an H-shaped plan with a facing of smooth and squared slabs of light-coloured stone.


The first three stories present a striking façade with a trapezoidal profile. The façade rises the entire height of the building, the side of which on the street is divided into three horizontal registers that echo the classic arrangement of a Renaissance palace in distinct lower, central and upper sections. In the Fine Arts Building as in its ancient Italian models, being closest to the eye of the beholder, the bottom section is the part on which the most sumptuous decoration and precise architectural definition is lavished.

The façade's central axis is emphasized by a large entrance portal, with a rounded arch that rises the height of two storeys. This deep, splayed passageway has an arched lintel decorated with plant motifs that introduces serried ranks of arches on either side. They are resting alternately on small columns and pillars variously decorated with fantastic creatures and inlaid geometric patterns. The wall beneath the great arch is densely worked with volutes of acanthus leaves and concatenated circles simulating rope made entirely of terracotta reliefs. The entrance is divided in two by a column of green marble with a capital and decorated entablature on which the two smaller arches rest.

Echoes of the architecture of the temple and the religious edifice return boldly in the three uppermost storeys, with a double order of arches on spiral columns, capitals decorated with foliage, and keystones with small animal heads. A tympanum with a curious internal colonnade crowns the façade in a riot of minute decoration and majestic architectural sculpture groups.


The two-storey interior lobby is set in large wall arches that enclose smaller arches on brackets at the lower level. A large balcony-type gallery is above, with spaces designed for artists’ studios. It is modelled on the matroneum overlooking the nave of a church. A shallow pool adorned with bronze sculptures, by the sculptor Burt Johnson, reflects light in the center of the lobby.

The lobby walls are decorated with ceramic relief panels, small sculptural inserts, and seventeen showcases made of glass and finely chased bronze like reliquaries. They now display a tenants’ paintings, sculptures and artworks.

The Fine Arts Building still asserts itself in the 21st century as a total work of art — where architecture, sculpture, and painting coexist in one extraordinary edifice.


Oil wildcatter Russell E. Havenstrite owned a penthouse in the building.[3] In June 2012, Los Angeles Fine Arts Building was purchased by Sorgente Group of America.[4]

The building appears in the film (500) Days of Summer, where the protagonist — an aspiring architect — describes it as his favorite building.[2]

The lobby has housed art galleries in recent years.[5]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Walking Tours - Fine Art Building". Los Angeles Conservancy. Archived from the original on February 11, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
  2. ^ a b Christopher Hawthorn, Architecture Critic (July 31, 2009). "L.A. as filtered by love in '(500) Days of Summer'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-11-23. Tom is particularly fond of the 1927 Fine Arts Building, on 7th Street
  3. ^ Cecilia Rasmussen, Opulent Building Brought the Arts to Downtown, The Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2004
  4. ^ Vincent, Roger (November 26, 2014). "WeWork leases six floors in downtown L.A.'s Fine Arts Building". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ Fine Arts Building - Art Walk News

External links[edit]