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Architects of a Golden Age

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Documenting one of the most creative and influential periods in Southern California architecture, “Architects of a Golden Age” spotlights about 20 original drawings and plans selected from The Huntington’s important Southern California architecture collection. Depictions of elegant, powerful, whimsical, and iconic buildings tease out the story of a place and time (1920 to 1940) that was ripe for architectural innovation—with rapid growth and the arrival of new talent from other parts of the U.S. The exhibition highlights renderings that helped bring into existence some of the most extraordinary buildings in the greater Los Angeles area, including Downtown L.A.’s Union Station, Mayan Theater, Stock Exchange building, and Chinatown structures, as well as seminal examples of the California Bungalow.

The Huntington’s focus on collecting architectural documentation coincided with the inception of Los Angeles’s preservation movement, which sprang into action around 1978, when there was a dire need to rescue the records of local architects as archives were being destroyed and buildings demolished to make way for redevelopment. The Huntington, with an existing strong foundation of rare architecture book holdings and Californiana, joined in the cause and committed to collecting these records. In the last 40 years, the collection has grown to a trove of thousands of plans, renderings, photographs, and project records.