Hollywood High School: Science Building – Los Angeles CA

Project type: Education and Health, Schools
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The Public Works Administration (PWA) funded the construction of the science building at Hollywood High School in Los Angeles, California.  The science building was completed in 1935.  The PWA aided in the reconstruction of hundreds of schools around Southern California after the devastating Long Beach earthquake of 1933.

The two-story, Streamline Moderne building was designed by the architectural firm of Marsh, Smith and Powell.  It features a recessed entrance and elegant curved corners with staircases. It is built of reinforced concrete. 

“The science building contains 11 classrooms, recitation rooms, laboratories for physics and biology, and lecture rooms….[It] was completed in November 1935 at a construction of $186,748 and a project cost of $208,968.” (Short & Stanley Brown, 1939).  Several of the classrooms have since been converted to offices.

Hollywood High School is one of the most famous schools in the world, thanks to its many notable graduates and having been featured in any number of Hollywood movies.


Project Details

Federal Cost Local Cost Total Cost Project #'s

Source notes

Short, C. W. and R. Stanley-Brown (1939) Public Buildings: Architecture Under the Public Works Administration, 1933 to 1939. United States Government Printing Office: Washington, DC.

Public Works Administration, "List of all Allotted Non-Federal Projects, All Programs, by State and Docket, as of May, 30, 1942,”  entry A1, no. 59, Record Group 135. Washington D.C.: Federal Works Administration, 1942. located at the National Archives II, College Park, MD.


Project originally submitted by Shaina Potts on October 7, 2011.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

1521 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Coordinates: 34.0982, -118.339

7 comments on “Hollywood High School: Science Building – Los Angeles CA

  1. Mark Gannett

    I presently work at Hollywood High. I teach chemistry and physics on the 2nd floor of the science bldg. My room is right in the middle of the east side of the bldg. Hollywood is a beautiful example of Streamline Moderne architecture designed, I believe, by the same architectural firm that designed Manual Arts High as well as a few other school campuses after the devastating 1933 Long Beach earthquake. As a side note, the current library at Hollywood High, with its 1930’s facade, was the original school auditorium built in 1908 and is the oldest building on campus. It is also one of the oldest buildings in Hollywood. The current auditorium, built in the 1920’s, was remodeled drastically in about 1956 and has changed little since (it’s pretty unique, too. Straight out of the ’50’s.). The science building now has 7 or 8 (depending on enrollment) science classrooms with the remaining classrooms all converted to administrative offices. The original red brick administration building was demolished and turned into a parking lot in the early or mid 1970’s. The gymnasium and shop building (no more shop classes-building used for storage) were built in 1966 and ’68, resp.

  2. Mark Gannett

    As a note to my original comment, the library also contains a mural painted by a famed Hollywood artist (whose name I can’t remember) during the 1930’s by the WPA I believe.

  3. Andrea Daniel

    So glad to know the mural is still there. Going to Hollywood High and Hollywood Bowl were my introduction to New Deal architecture. My interest started there and has never stopped.

  4. Does anyone have any info on the lettering used for the building fronts? It’s a big part of the overall aesthetic which building history is constantly missing out on…

  5. Can anyone tell me what happened to the original building built in 1904? When was it demolished or was it merely redesigned in Art Deco.

  6. Andrew Laverdiere

    @Steve Dimmick, As Mark Gannet mentioned, this school along with most of the school system in the Los Angeles area was either damaged or destroyed by the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, which is why there is such a large number of PWA moderne style school buildings in Los Angeles,

  7. Paul N. Leckner

    Wow! I too have worked at that particular high school. “Home of the Sheiks” Rudolph Valentino. It has one of thee smallest parking lots, and I have to get there early or it is outside on the street. It has so much history since it was built. The high school where future Hollywood celebrities went to high school.

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