Preserving Los Angeles History Architecture and Culture since 1986
Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by
Los Angeles City Hall Murals

If you’ve walked its hallways, it is almost impossible to escape the beauty that surrounds them. From the ornately decorated vaulted ceilings above the elevator banks to the mythological figures symbolizing the courage, perseverance, progressiveness and energy of the people of Los Angeles, the work of art continues into the East Lobby. The central dome murals illustrate Earth, Wind, Water and Fire. Other murals depict themes of Science, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Power, Commerce and more. Los Angeles City Hall is perhaps the foremost symbol of our great metropolis and it has stood tall for almost 90 years. Preserving this crown jewel for generations to come has been Project Restore’s top priority.


North Hallway on the third floor where emergency treatment was needed

Originally painted by two famous artisans (Anthony Heinsbergen and Herman Sachs), the murals in Los Angeles City Hall are suffering from flaking and deterioration. After the seismic retrofit and historic restoration of City Hall in 2001, inevitable humidity fluctuations and visitor traffic have caused significant damage. Spotting the damage is sometimes difficult due to the high ceilings, but paint has been gradually chipping and falling to the floor.

These murals are located on the ceilings of several floors and rooms of City Hall including the City Council Chamber, Board of Public Works Session Room, Rotunda, Main Street Lobby, Mayor’s Office, and the Tom Bradley Room. It is critical to save the historic artwork since most of it is original.

           First Street Entrance                                                 Temple Street Entrance

Project Restore is currently implementing the first stages of a long-term plan for the conservation of over 50,000 square feet of decorative paint and murals. Following a year of field research, paint analysis and a complete survey of the building’s environmental readings, we developed our current in-depth conservation and restoration plan.

          East Rotunda flaking and paint loss

  In progress with large panels completed

Conservator Zebala & Partners was hired by Project Restore to thoroughly examine the murals and after several months of exploration work, the conservators identified areas that needed immediate attention. As a result, they have performed repairs on the third floor’s East Rotunda and North Hallway. They have also developed a comprehensive cost estimate for the murals’ conservation effort.

    East Rotunda                                                   Conservator speaking to Los Angeles Conservancy’s tour group

To mitigate damage caused by humidity, Project Restore formed a committee to oversee the effort to preserve and restore the murals. Christopher C. Martin, CEO & Chairman of AC Martin, is chairing this committee and AECOM is developing (pro bono) a series of recommendations to control or minimize the humidity fluctuations in the building. Our goal is to raise sufficient funds to complete its full restoration and preservation.      


Photo credits: Zebala & Partners and Raymond Kwan




To Preserve Our Los Angeles

Photo Gallery

Related Documents