County of Los Angeles, Hall of Records

Julius Shulman photography archive, 1936-1997.

County of Los Angeles, Hall of Records


The County of Los Angeles Hall of Records is positioned at the center of the east-west axis that forms the civic heart of downtown Los Angeles with other municipal institutions located nearby, including City Hall and the Department of Water and Power. The Hall of Records was designed as a site for the administration and storage of the county’s paper records, an undertaking that has been rendered obsolete. At the time of its construction, Neutra referred to the building in a Los Angeles Times article he wrote as “the world’s largest filing cabinet.” Within the T-shaped building, the wing pointing southward is entirely enclosed, and inside, 13-half stories offered a compressed space to efficiently house files. The exterior of the building is surfaced in glass and off-white and brown glazed terracotta panels. Embellishments, such as aluminum screens, are laid out in a V-shaped pattern while mosaics, including bright red tiles on the balconies from the offices and a mural by Joseph Young behind the lily pond on the ground level, offer further ornament. Inside the “penthouse cafeteria,” Neutra played with his signature planes and lines. The $13 million project was also an opportunity for technological innovations meant to improve working conditions. The steel-framed structure is surfaced with electronically operated movable louvers along the south elevations meant to cool window facades. Shorter louvers on the northern side of the building were intended to minimize the glare experienced by workers inside. However, a lack of care for the building by Los Angeles County has made the louvers immovable today.

Adapted from Neutra – Complete Works by Barbara Lamprecht (Taschen, 2000), p. 416.

Project Detail

Year Built


Project Architect

Neutra & Alexander with Honnold and Rex, Herman Charles Light and James Friend


County of Los Angeles


320 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA