California State University, Northridge Fine Arts Building

California State University, Northridge
Julius Shulman photography archive, 1936-1997.

California State University, Northridge Fine Arts Building


Demolished after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, this large, three-story, L-shaped, reinforced concrete building housed offices, art studios, workshops for metal-working and a gallery space. The lobby at the crux of the L opened directly onto a landscaped sculpture garden, leading the eye immediately through the building to the outdoors. Brushed aluminum vertical exterior fins covering the facade on the east reduced peripheral glare from the morning sun; on the south side, thin, horizontal concrete overhangs with deeply inset windows reduced summer solar gain. Although not one of the partnership’s most interesting buildings, it served its purpose well in some ways. The intelligent combination of day and artificial light provided even light for the classrooms, although the gallery was problematic. Here a western glass wall proved fatal to some ill-placed artwork. Other walls, one in pearwood with a built-in clock and another with aluminum-edged burlap, were immediately covered with drywall by the faculty (positioning it so that the original walls would not be permanently affected) to hang artwork. Neutra placed those workshops and activities requiring heavy crafting of materials on the ground floors in bays open to the outdoors, and included copious amounts of built-in cabinetry which were well-used by students and staff. Suspended aluminum light troughs in the stairwells and a larger one in the lobby were especially distinctive. Here Neutra extended the trough from the lobby into the gallery space to condition the eye before hitting the bright light in the gallery. An identical structure still exists at Cal State Hayward.

Project Detail

Year Built


Project Architect

Richard Neutra


California State University


18111 Nordhoff Boulevard
Northridge, CA

Current Status