Los Angeles City Hall

Los Angeles City Hall
Los Angeles City Hall
General information
Type Government offices
Location 200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California
Coordinates 34°03′13″N 118°14′35″W / 34.0536°N 118.2430°W / 34.0536; -118.2430Coordinates: 34°03′13″N 118°14′35″W / 34.0536°N 118.2430°W / 34.0536; -118.2430
Construction started 1926
Completed 1928
Roof 138 m (453 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 32
Floor area 500,000 sq ft (46,000 m2)
Design and construction
Owner City of Los Angeles
Architect Austin Parkinson and Martin
Structural engineer Nabih Youssef & Associates
Designated: March 24, 1976
Reference #: 150

Los Angeles City Hall, completed 1928, is the center of the government of the city of Los Angeles, California, and houses the mayor's office and the meeting chambers and offices of the Los Angeles City Council.[5] It is located in the Civic Center district of downtown Los Angeles in the city block bounded by Main, Temple, First, and Spring streets.



1931 photograph of then new City Hall (with the now-demolished 10-story International Savings Bank to the immediate left).[6]

The building was designed by John Parkinson, John C. Austin, and Albert C. Martin, Sr., and was completed in 1928. Dedication ceremonies were held on April 26, 1928. It has 32 floors and, at 454 feet (138 m) high, is the tallest base-isolated structure in the world, having undergone a seismic retrofit that will allow the building to sustain minimal damage and remain functional after a magnitude 8.2 earthquake.[7] The concrete in its tower was made with sand from each of California's 58 counties and water from its 21 historical missions.[8] City Hall's distinctive tower was based on the purported shape of the Mausoleum of Mausolus,[citation needed] and shows the influence of the Los Angeles Public Library, completed soon before the structure was started. An image of City Hall has been on Los Angeles Police Department badges since 1940.[9]

Due in part to seismic concerns, prior to the late 1950s the City of Los Angeles did not permit any portion of any building other than a purely decorative tower to be more than 150 feet (46 m) high.[citation needed] Therefore, from its completion in 1928 until 1964, the City Hall was the tallest building in Los Angeles, and shared the skyline with only a few structures having decorative towers, including the Richfield Tower and the Eastern Columbia Building. City Hall has an observation deck, free to the public.

The building was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1976.[10]


An observation level is open to the public on the 27th floor. The Mayor of Los Angeles has an office in room 300 of this building and every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 10:00am, the Los Angeles City Council meets in its chambers. City Hall and the adjacent federal, state, and county buildings are served by the Civic Center station on the Metro Red Line.

Popular culture

The building has been featured in the following popular movies and television shows:

  • Adventures of Superman: The building appears as the Daily Planet building beginning in the second season of the 1950s TV series. At the time the TV program was broadcast, the show's Daily Planet building (Los Angeles City Hall) was frequently confused with the similarly designed Pennsylvania Power & Light Building in Allentown, also built in 1928. Additionally, the exact design of this building is used as the Newstime magazine headquarters in the Superman comic books.
  • Alias: A CIA black ops unit is located behind a maintenance door at Civic Station.
  • Dragnet: The building appears as itself in the TV series. The first episode of Dragnet (1951) Season 1, Episode 1: "The Human Bomb", Original Air Date: 16 December 1951, was filmed at Los Angeles City Hall. It was embossed on Sgt. Joe Friday's famous badge number 714 that was displayed under the credits.
  • Perry Mason: The City Hall building appears in the view from Perry's office window. This has led viewers of the show to spectulate where the fictional office would have been located in downtown Los Angeles.[11]
  • Tower of Terror: In this 1997 made-for-TV movie, the main character's love interest works at a fictional newspaper, The Los Angeles Banner. The newspaper's logo is based on the top of the city hall.
  • Adam-12: During the seventh season opening credits montage, City Hall is shown directly at the end, as the building that officers Reed. and Malloy drive away from. It is also shown on the embossed badges numbered 744 (Malloy) and 2430 (Reed).
  • The 2003 Dragnet series used the L.A. City Hall building aerial shot and badge throughout its introduction.
  • War of the Worlds: The City Hall was destroyed in the 1953 film version (although the H.G. Wells book has the aliens attacking London, the setting was changed to Los Angeles for the film).
  • The 1976 film The Bad News Bears included a scene both shot and set in the city council chamber that included a close-up of the electronic voting board with the names of the incumbent council members.
  • The 2011 film Atlas Shrugged: Part I
  • The 2011 series Torchwood: Miracle Day used the main entrance of City Hall to represent the C.I.A. Archive Esther Drummond visits in The New World, and the exterior to the medical conference where Vera Juarez meets Jilly Kitzinger in Rendition/Dead of Night.

The building has also been featured in the following other media:

  • In the Midnight Club: Los Angeles video game as part of Downtown Los Angeles.
  • In the video game L.A. Noire, City Hall is featured as itself in 1947 Los Angeles.
  • In Mission: Impossible, "Ultimatum" 1972: A thermonuclear bomb is planted under City hall in a sewer duct by a frustrated nuclear scientist in order to blackmail the US government into changing of its foreign policy and replacing some "corrupt" Congress and cabinet members. If demands are not met, the 50-megaton bomb will detonate, destroying all of Los Angeles County. The IMF must locate and defuse the bomb before it is too late.
  • In GTA:San Andreas video game as part of the city of Los Santos.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin (Japanese manga series), the building serves as the headquarters for one of the main occupation armies of the antagonist Principality of Zeon, under Garma Zabi.
  • In Miss Murder, music video by the band AFI (April 2006).
  • In Escape From L.A., the building is shown sunken, along with the ruins of Los Angeles, as Snake Plissken operates his submarine toward the prison.
  • In SWAT 3, one mission has the player rescuing hostages and defusing a bomb within the top floors of the building.


See also


  1. ^ Los Angeles City Hall at Emporis
  2. ^ >Los Angeles City Hall at Glass Steel and Stone
  3. ^ Los Angeles City Hall at SkyscraperPage
  4. ^ Los Angeles City Hall at Structurae
  5. ^ "The Official Web Site of The City of Los Angeles". City of Los Angeles. 2010. http://lacity.org/YourGovernment/CityCouncil/index.htm. Retrieved 28 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Scott, Charles Fletcher (August-September 1931). "Los Angeles on Parade". Overland Monthly 89 (8-9): 14. 
  7. ^ "Projects". Clark Construction Group, LLC. 2010. http://www.clarkconstruction.com/search/search_results/ac3774365714e8f6d0157f109ca066e8/. Retrieved 28 May 2010. [dead link]
  8. ^ Architecture of Los Angeles City Hall - Los Angeles, California, United States of America
  9. ^ "LAPD Badge Description". Los Angeles Police Department. 2010. http://www.lapdonline.org/search_results/content_basic_view/1125. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Los Angeles Department of City Planning (September 7, 2007) (.PDF). Historic - Cultural Monuments (HCM) Listing: City Declared Monuments. City of Los Angeles. http://www.cityprojectca.org/ourwork/documents/HCMDatabase090707.pdf. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "Perry Mason office locale". D> M> Brockman. 2007. http://www.perrymasontvseries.com/pmo_locale.htm. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 

External links

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