Home Savings of America Tower:

A Marriage of Art and Architecture

Text from the Home Savings of America Tower Art and Architecture Brochure, nd. [probably circa 1988]

The Home Savings of America Tower is a celebration of the classic union of art and architecture. Fine art is integral to the Tower design, creating a landmark structure that is at once an architectural masterpiece and a work of art.

The Tower’s ambitious art and architecture program reflects Home Savings of America’s continuing commitment to the visual art – a commitment that has played a major part in the design and construction of its offices since the early 1950s.

MAJOR ART WORKS COMPLEMENT BEAUX ARTS ARCHITECTURE

This marriage of art and architecture is articulated in the Tower’s Beaux-Arts architectural style, complemented by three major art works commissioned for the building’s exterior: two Italian glass mosaics to be placed in the archways above the two building entrances and a ceiling mural to be painted above the escalator in the Metro Rail portal.

Tim Vreeland, F. A. I. A. of Albert C. Martin and Associates, designed the Tower to complement and to be in keeping with the historic architecture on 7th Street, which includes the 818 West 7th Building built in 1929, the Fine Arts Building built in 1925 and Fire Station Number 28.

The base of the tower, sheathed in travertine and verde antique marble and topped with a cornice fifty-five feet above the sidewalk, is oriented to the pedestrian environment. The Tower is crowned by a steeply pitched roof with triangular gables and turrets. Lighted at night, the Tower serves as a beacon, merging the Figueroa financial corridor with 7th Street historic district.

VENETIAN GLASS MURALS

In keeping with the theme of the architecture, the two forty-foot-high by ten-foot wide Italian glass murals created by Joyce Kozloff for the building exterior will feature 16th Century decorative devices derived from the chateaux gardens at Villandry and Chenonceaux in the Loire Valley. Rounded lunettes at the top of each illustrate Ms. Kozloff's vision of Los Angeles: one depicting two angels and the other a festoon of oranges.

SCHOONHOVEN CEILING

The ceiling of the Metro Rail portal at the Seventh and Figueroa corner, painted by Los Angeles artist Terry Schoonhoven features a large panel surrounded by five smaller panels illustrating a tipped perspective of the sky and the Los Angeles urban scene. Mr. Schoonhoven's work is entitled "City Above."

SCULPTURED GLASS WINDOWS

Large sculptured glass windows by celebrated New York artist Patsy Norvell have been installed on the ground floor. Ms. Norvell's glass panels are spectacular, architectural pieces in which intricately carved leaf and vine motifs create richly luminescent effects. Called "Glass Passage," each window is covered with an arch detailed in gold leaf.

SKY LOBBY

A two-story Sky Lobby rises through the sixth and seventh floors of the Tower. The elaborate Sky Lobby is a spectacular thirty-foot by thirty-foot central space surrounded on three sides by a dramatic vaulted passageway and overhead gallery. On the fourth side, two-story-high arched windows open onto balconies overlooking 7th Street.

HAAS MURALS

Murals by celebrated New York artist Richard Haas, depicting a romanticized bird's eye view of the Los Angeles Basin, enhances three sides of the lobby.

On the ceiling Haas has painted a stylized sun, circled by medieval symbols representing the revolving earth. Intricate garlands and birds embellish spaces between and around the archways and bronze open grillwork provides a decorative seventh floor gallery railing.

Reminiscent of art work found in European palaces, vaulted ceilings of three sides of the lobby are decorated with painted trellises laced with delicate flower and vines. Ceilings in the two elevator vestibules are variations on this theme.

MINIATURE BRONZES

Small bronze statues by important late 19th Century sculptors grace each elevator vestibule.

Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi (1836-1904), sculptor of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, created the miniature Statue of Liberty now displayed in the shuttle elevator vestibule.

The bronze figure in the other vestibule, by Frederic W. MacMonies (1863-1937), is a small scale version of the Nathan Hale bronze standing in New York’s City Park.

HOME SAVINGS OF AMERICA BRANCH

The ground floor Branch contains large murals by Los Angeles artists Tony Berlant and Carlos Almaraz.

In the teller area, Mr. Almaraz's monumental, heroic-style mural entitled "The Story of L. A." portrays landmarks of the city’s past, present, and future.

The mural in the New Accounts area, entitled "Yang Na," is a contemporary tin sculpture collage depicting artist Berlant's semi-abstract view of Los Angeles, with the freeway system providing a compositional frame of reference.

THE ARTISTS

Joyce Kozloff is renowned for her major site-specific public art commissions, including the Harvard Square Subway Station, San Francisco Airport, and Detroit's Downtown People Mover Station.

Tony Schoonhoven has painted monumental dream-like murals on buildings and walls throughout Los Angeles for the past two decades. His work can be seen on the Harbor Freeway South Wilshire off-ramp, on Butler Avenue in West Los Angeles, and on Windward Avenue in Venice.

New York artist Patsy Norvell is nationally known for her large environmental sculptures. She earned critical acclaim for her "Glass Garden" greenhouse, shown at the A. I. R. Gallery and Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.

Richard Haas' gigantic murals enhance the cityscapes of New York, Chicago, and Boston. The New York Times has called his urban murals "among the more potent public art of our time."

Carlos Alamarz received national recognition during his participation in the 1984 Olympics Arts Festival. His paintings are richly colored and textured narrative illustrations of both his hometown of East Los Angeles and mythological subjects.

California artist Tony Berlant has also achieved national renown. His recent public commissions included a large mural in the San Francisco Airport. Berlant is known for his imaginative use of common materials, such as scraps of tin clipped from every day objects, which he fashions into sophisticated, hand-crafted compositions.

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