Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Arts and Communication Building

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Institution Name: University of La Verne
Original/Historic Place Name: La Verne Cooperative Citrus Association Packing House
Location on Campus: 2016 D St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1931original construction Unknown
2001renovation Claremont Environmental Design Group
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: poured concrete
Walls: poured concrete; glass
Roof: corrugated steel; built-up bituminous material
ca. 1931other (fruit storage and packaging)
ca. 1985-2002academic department building (art)
ca. 2002-present (2007)academic department building (arts and communication)

Significance: architecture, history
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

From 1890 to 1950, citrus was king along the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County, and La Verne was a center for orange growing, packing, and shipping. The La Verne Cooperative Citrus Association Packing House was one of a row of cavernous structures filled with machinery that moved, graded, packed, and shipped fruit with the willing assistance of a thousand hands of seasonal workers. Wagons and trucks brought fruit to docks and chutes on the north side of the building and boxed fruit, with distinctive collectable labels, were loaded into Santa Fe railcars on the south side for shipment to the world. After the fruit trees were uprooted and replaced with dwellings, the property was used as a warehouse or stood empty for three decades until the University of La Verne acquired it in 1988.

After structural improvements and minor remodeling, the University began using the dowager for warehousing and storage. In the mid-1990's a little additional remodeling converted the main floor into the Art Department and the basement into U.L.V. Graphics. Around the same time murals were painted on the community side of the building depicting historic, rural La Verne. The real transformation came in 2002 when Claremont Environmental Design Group turned the aging agricultural legacy into a sparkling, light-filled Art and Communications building. Its massive north-facing wall of glass provides near perfect light for art studio classes and the "Tall Art Gallery" while simultaneously illuminating the TV/radio/newspaper classroom and production areas as well as the ducts and corrugated metal features that create the ambiance of the former packing house. The building always seems alive with students engaged in studio or production activities.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Heckman, Marlin. University of La Verne. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2001.

Hogan, Herbert W., and Gladdys E. Muir. The University of La Verne: A Centennial History: 1891-1991. La Verne, CA: University of La Verne, 1990.

Hogan, Herbert W. Years of Renewal and Growth: University of La Verne 1985-2000, the First Fifteen Years of the Presidency of Stephen C. Morgan. La Verne, CA: University of La Verne, 2001.

Muir, Gladdys E. La Verne College: Seventy-Five Years of Service. Los Angeles: La Verne College, 1967.

Polos, Nicholas. "The Rise of a University: Super-Tent," Mt. San Antonio Historian 16, no. 3 (Summer 1980): 93-105.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Special Collections, Facilities Management Office

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Last update: November 2006