G. Albert Lansburgh

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G. Albert Lansburgh portrait circa 1915

Gustave Albert Lansburgh (January 7, 1876 – April, 1969) was an American architect, largely known for his work on luxury cinemas and theatres. He was the principal architect of theaters on the West Coast from 1900–1930.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Lansburgh was born in Panama and raised largely in San Francisco. After graduating from that city's Boys High School in 1894, Lansburgh enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley. While a student there, he worked part-time in the offices of prominent San Francisco architect Bernard Maybeck. Upon graduation from Berkeley, he moved to Paris, France where, in 1901, he was enrolled in the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts, from which he earned a diploma in March, 1906.

Lansburgh returned to the Bay Area in May, 1906, one month after the region had been devastated by the San Francisco earthquake and the city largely consumed by fire. First in partnership with Bernard Julius Joseph for two years, then in his own practice, Lansburgh designed numerous buildings in the recovering city. Among these were four of the seven Carnegie branch libraries for the city [Mission (1915); Sunset (1918); North Beach (1921); and Presidio (1921)][2]:9,11,12 and his first theater, for the San Francisco-based Orpheum Theater Circuit. In his long career thereafter, Lansburgh become known primarily as a theater architect, designing more than 50 of them, many for the Orpheum Circuit and its successor firm, RKO. He continued to design other buildings, including Oakland's Temple Sinai in 1914.[3]

He also collaborated with local architects A. M. Edelman and John C. Austin on the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, and with Arthur Brown Jr. on the War Memorial Opera House (San Francisco). Though many of Lansburgh's best known works, including El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, were on the west coast, his personal favorite was said to have been the Al Hirschfeld Theatre (originally the Martin Beck Theatre) in New York City.[citation needed]

Partial list of theatres designed[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Samudio, Jeffrey; Lee, Portia (2001). Images of America: Los Angeles, California (trade paperback). Chicago: Arcadia Publishing. p. 105. ISBN 0-7385-0812-8. 
  2. ^ "Landmark Nomination: Carnegie Branch Libraries of San Francisco" (PDF). San Francisco Public Library. January 2001. Retrieved 11 December 2017. 
  3. ^ Rosenbaum, Fred (2009). Cosmopolitans: A Social and Cultural History of the Jews of the San Francisco Bay Area. University of California Press. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-520-25913-3
  4. ^ a b Lord, Rosemary (2003). Hollywood Then and Now. San Diego: Thunder Bay Press. p. 121. ISBN 1-59223-104-7.