Williams-Designed Golden State Building – South Central Los Angeles Regional Center – New Development

As was presented at the MINC Stakeholder Meeting last night, the South Central Los Angeles Regional Center (SCLARC) is looking for support for a new development on the site of the historic Paul Williams designed Golden State Mutual Building, at the corner of Adams Blvd. and Western Ave., in West Adams.  The plan is to preserve the historic structure, to be used as an office building, while constructing a new structure for SCLARC in what is currently the existing parking lot for Golden State Mutual.  There will be a green space area linking the two buildings, and the plan is to put up some sort of monument as a tribute to the architect Paul Williams.  The new structure will have above and below ground parking – that will incorporate the existing spaces, and create new ones for the new building – and the height of the new building will not impede the views from the top floor of the historic Golden State Mutual Building.  (The historic murals still installed in the Golden State Mutual Building are still part of an on-going lawsuit.)

For more details about SCLARC, and the services thy offer, you can go to http://www.sclarc.org/.

For more details about the Golden State Mutual Building, and the planned new development, go to http://www.intersectionssouthla.org/index.php/story/a_trifecta_of_african_american_culture_in_south_la/ or see the details in the Curbed LA article below: 

Williams-Designed Golden State Building is LA’s 1,000th Landmark


Los Angeles has designated its one thousandth historic-cultural monument (number one: the Leonis Adobe on the border of Calabasas) and it’s a goodie–University Park’s Golden State Mutual Life Insurance building. GSM was founded in 1925 to serve African-Americans who’d been denied coverage elsewhere and it became one of the biggest black-owned businesses west of the Mississippi, according to the Office of Historic Resources newsletter. In 1948, it commissioned Paul Williams, the first black member of the AIA, to design a headquarters on West Adams Boulevard.

Williams commissioned Hale Woodruff and Charles Alston to paint murals of early black Californians for the lobby of the building; in March, as the state was liquidating GSM, the Smithsonian kicked up some controversy when it tried to buy and remove the murals. It withdrew its offer pretty quickly and meanwhile the LA Conservancy’s Modern Committee nominated the building for landmark status. But while “The designation identifies the murals as significant character-defining features of the building,” according to the OHR, “the question of whether the murals are an asset separate from the building remains the subject of a legal dispute.”
· Los Angeles Reaches Preservation Milestone: Historic-Cultural Monument #1000 [OHR]
· Smithsonian Wants Murals Out of Williams’ Golden State Mutual [Curbed LA]

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