Originally built in 1925 as Patriotic Hall and later renamed to honor the famed entertainer, the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall has served veterans for nearly a century. The building provided much needed services to veterans upon their return home, including advocacy, counseling, and job training.
A Living Monument
A refinished stairwell in the historic building.
Exterior of the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall.
The beautiful building was constructed as a symbol of sacrifice and a monument to veterans. At its zenith, it boasted a gleaming marble lobby, rich wood floors, and ornate murals celebrating American democratic principles. At the time of its construction, the hall was the tallest building in Los Angeles. In addition to housing several veterans’ organizations, the hall was home to priceless military artifacts, including historic flags and weapons and uniforms worn by Winston Churchill, and Generals George Patton and Norman Schwarzkopf.
As time passed, however, the building’s age became a hurdle to effectively providing valuable services to veterans. That’s where the PCL project team stepped in to help the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall continue to live up to its full potential.
A Historical Challenge
The building’s owner needed a general construction contractor to renovate the 10-story structure and selected PCL’s Los Angeles operations office to do the work. The challenge for PCL was to incorporate modern infrastructure into a nearly century-old building without negatively affecting the historical aesthetic of the hall. To overcome these obstacles, PCL initiated some unique solutions, including assembling a special scaffold system to work on the delicate plaster ceiling, and installing of seismic protection behind the hall’s beautiful photorealist murals.
The greater challenge, however, would prove to be bringing the historic structure up to modern standards of functionality and code. PCL worked to uphold the historical spirit of the building while adding modern comforts like air conditioning, central heating, and accessible restrooms. This increased functionality for users and made the hall compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, while retaining the character of the historic structure.
A Way to Give Back
Now that work on Bob Hope Patriotic Hall is complete, the real achievement is becoming clear. As PCL health, safety and environment manager for organization’s Los Angeles district and former Marine Corps sergeant Albert Valenzuela sees it, the needs of the end user were always top of mind for the PCL project team as they worked on the facility.
“We know who’s going to use it, and the quality of what they’re getting,” Valenzuela said. “Looking back at the murals and the history, it’s nice to see the building’s legacy preserved in a way that veterans and future veterans will be able to appreciate.”