Wednesday, April 1, 2009

San Diego 1935: California State Building.....

The California State Building was situated on the west side of the California-Pacific International Exposition's Plaza de America, adjacent to the Hollywood Motion Picture Hall of Fame. Architect Richard Requa designed the structure to represent the similarities in mass and form between ancient Mayan, Indian Pueblo and modern 20th-century architecture. The large rectangular building featured plain unadorned walls, decorated with vine-filled planter boxes at the parapet level, and a central concave entrance portal, decorated with Mayan style fibre-wallboard ornamentation. Four large vertical panels, created from squares of fibre-wallboard painted and varnished to imitate polychrome tile, were located above the entrance and depicted symbolic scenes of the story of California. Within the spacious building California's agriculture, commerce, industry, education, architecture, art, communications, highways, and police and military organizations were represented by many comprehensive displays. A detailed relief-map illustrated the state's water resources and the central valley water project; while several large murals portrayed California's history and lore.

1 comment:

Richard said...

Is there any chance that someone has archival illustrations or photos of the fibre-board faux tile murals? And the fibre-board faux Mayan ornamentation? Architect Robert Thiele of San Diego is involved with a Balboa Park art/restoration commission that is interested in restoring these elements in actual ceramic tile on this California State Building.
Robert contacted me to see if I would be interested in helping with this project as I am a tile maker in Ojai, CA who has made tile for many significant historical buildings including the 20' tall Avalon Mermaid mural at the front entrance to the 1930 built Avalon Casino on Catalina Island.
I (Richard Keit) can be reached at and 805-640-9360 ( and Architect Robert Thiele is at 619-849-0680 or
Any help would be greatly appreciated!