September 07, 2005

Van Nuys City Hall Project

After two years of work, the restoration and seismic renovation of the Valley Municipal Building (otherwise known as Van Nuys City Hall) is nearly complete. Updated photographs of the restoration project have been posted on the City of Los Angeles' Project Restore website.

"Built in 1932 as the Valley Municipal Building, the Van Nuys City Hall is a prominent landmark characterized by striking architectural style and symmetrical massing. Designed as a miniature of Los Angeles City Hall by architect Peter K. Schaborum in Art Deco-Moderne style, it features a 2-story H-shaped base with a central tower culminating in a concrete dome at the eleventh story."

"The character defining features of the building include the tower shaft with elaborate ornaments and details, the frieze band at the parapet wings with art deco design, rosette grilles above the windows of the wings and bas-relief panels above main entrance doors."

Valley Municipal Building, 1932 - Courtesy Los Angeles Public Library"Interior features include a lobby with marble floor and wall linings, ceiling frieze, metal grille work at the main entrance doors, central public stairway, original hardware and bronze mail chute. Despite interior modifications, many character defining features in the public spaces are intact, retaining the integrity of the original design."

"Van Nuys City Hall was designated a City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1968. It [has also] been formally determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places."

"Originally, it housed the Bureau of Engineering and a Hospital in one wing of the base and Police and Municipal Court, complete with jail in the other. Building and Safety was located on the 3rd floor and various offices on the others. In the early fifties and sixties, the Hospital and Police moved and the wings were remodeled to house the City Attorney on the first floor, and Engineering on the second floor and the tower floors."

"Structurally, the tower is constructed of a steel frame in-filled with periphery concrete walls. The wings are of concrete shear wall construction with concrete floors and roof. Interior partitions are of clay tiles."

"The building suffered damage during the 1971 earthquake, with more extensive cracking during the 1994 earthquake. From 1996 to 1998 seismic repair was done to the exterior walls to stabilize and seal the building. With the advent of the construction of the new, adjacent Marvin Braude Constituent Services Center, the seismic strengthening was postponed until the new building could be occupied. Anticipating the completion of the new building, final design of the seismic strengthening and rehabilitation began in May 2002."

For more on the history of this building and the current restoration efforts (including lots of photographs), visit the City of Los Angeles' Project Restore website at:

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