After four years of design, restoration, and seismic renovations, the Valley Municipal Building has regained its place as the Valley’s center of civic life.
Built in 1932 as the Valley Municipal Building and designed as a miniature of Los Angeles City Hall by architect Peter K. Schaborum, Van Nuys City Hall gained recognition as a Historic-Cultural Monument in 1968.
With help of the Bureau of Engineering’s Seismic Bond Group, the General Services’ Department, and Project Restore, the Valley Municipal Building has been restored to its original splendor. This Valley landmark will stand as an enduring symbol of civic life.
The Art Deco-Moderne style landmark features a two story H-shaped base with a central tower culminating in a concrete dome. 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.
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 throughout the decades, many character-defining features in the public spaces remain intact, retaining the integrity of the original design.
Originally, it housed a Hospital in one wing of the base and the Police Department and Municipal Court, complete with jail, in the other. With the population growth in the fifties and sixties, the hospital and police station were eventually relocated to roomier sites, and the building was remodeled to house other City offices.
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 approval 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.
SCOPE OF WORK
The strengthened and renovated Van Nuys City Hall will retain its function as a city hall, a meeting place for the community, with City Council/Planning meeting chambers and various community service offices. The scope of work included: repair and painting of the exterior; restoration of the ceiling frieze and decorative paint; restore and install the marble wall panels; restoration of the marble floor; restoration of all historic lighting – rotunda chandelier and wall sconce fixtures; original woodwork and mill work; the main entry’s bronze doors; the design, fabrication and installation of a new elevator cab that complements the building’s historic features; design and installation of a new exterior lighting system; a three-story underground parking structure and a new pedestrian plaza; and design and installation of a signage program compatible with the building’s historic fabric.