City considering options to bring much-needed repairs to mid-century complex
By Sam Catanzaro
The West Los Angeles Civic Center, home to many local and federal government offices, may be getting a much-needed makeover.
The center, located at 1645 West Corinth Avenue, is home to the Councilmember Mike Bonin’s West LA Field Office, the West LA Neighborhood Council, and serves the neighbors of the Westside as a government resource center, housing the district offices of various public services, as well as the district offices of County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and Congressmember Ted Lieu.
The complex, bounded by Santa Monica Boulevard, Corinth Avenue, Iowa Avenue and Colby Avenue features the West L.A. Civic Center Building and courtyard, the Felicia Mahood Multipurpose Center, the West L.A. Regional Library, the West L.A. LAPD Building and multiple parking lots.
The venue has served the community throughout the years with events such as the West L.A. Farmers Market and the West L.A Summer Concert Series. Moreover, it possesses a cultural significance, featured in videos and video games, as a home to a de-facto skatepark where people from around the world come to visit and skate.
The West Los Angeles Civic Center is the product of Los Angeles’ 1949 plan to build branch administrative centers throughout the city to give more efficient services to citizens of the rapidly growing metropolis.
“Built between 1957 and 1965, the civic center reflects the postwar growth of municipal services and the general optimism of the period, exemplified by its eye-catching Mid-Century Modern design,” said the Los Angeles Conservatory. “All of the buildings are in the Mid-Century Modern style and feature horizontal orientations, concrete construction, flat roofs, bands of windows, and glass entryways. The City Hall and court buildings are particularly notable for the decorative concrete grilles and geometric metal brise soleils which ornament their front façades. The most flamboyant structure is the amphitheater, with a swooping, parabolic arch of a roof held aloft by tiled pillars and sheltering a small stage with curves to match.”
“This civic center is a great example of Mid-Century Modern architecture in an institutional context, and serves as an intact reminder of Los Angeles’ rapid postwar expansion,” the Conservatory added.
Despite its history and importance, the Civic Center needs some love, as many of the existing facilities are in poor condition and long overdue for a complete renovation.
“Redevelopment of the West L.A. Civic Center would provide a tremendous opportunity for a revitalized area that could benefit the community,” reads motion submitted by Bonin to LA City Council. “The community and the City could shape and drive a shared vision that could include outdoor public space, improved recreation, library, and senior facilities, as well as sorely needed affordable housing and workforce housing for local seniors and residents.”
The City and County of Los Angeles currently are looking for opportunities to bring updated and modern civic office facilities, community space, senior amenities and affordable housing to the West Los Angeles Civic Center
“This type of project would revitalize the West Los Angeles community and enhance the resources and amenities available to westside residents,” Bonin said.
In planning the renovation, the City of Los Angeles is seeking input from the West Los Angeles residents to develop a vision for the site that will promote civic pride and provide quality amenities through a potential mixed-use project.
A survey can be completed online by visiting https://bit.ly/2kud7xD