famous landmark has reigned over Los Angeles since May 14, 1935, from its
throne on the south slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, California.
In 1935 visitors would have had a nearly 360-degree view of Glendale, Eagle
Rock and Pasadena to the east; Burbank to the north; the San Fernando Valley
to the northwest; Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest;
and Hollywood, downtown and Long Beach
to the south. The
original construction began in May of 1933 in the middle of the Great
The Observatory is topped by three domes sheathed in pure copper, the
largest dome is 100 feet wide, the other domes are 30 feet wide. When
it was determined that the Observatory would be remodeled it was the
original intension of the architect to reuse all of the original copper
for its domes. VNSM was brought in to design and rebuild these domes.
The smaller domes and the cupolas were all restored using its original
copper. They were removed, reworked and set back in their original
locations. When it was determined that the copper on the larger dome
was not salvageable, VNSM was requested to remove, replicate and redesign
the seamed system on the main dome. VNSM needed to design the final
look of the dome to match the original system, avoiding any of the original
pitfalls that ultimately led to the roof's failure, which started leaking
back in 1935. The original copper dome was re-engineered then removed
and the new system was installed over a period of the next 6 months.
During the 6 month duration, nearly 500 uniquely individual custom tapered
panels were manufactured and installed onsite using dead soft copper
and hand formed with hammer locked seams. This work stands as one of
VNSM's finest artistic accomplishments and is a true example of the fine
artisans employed by VNSM.
Originally Built in 1935
Original Architects: John C. Austin & Frederick M. Ashley
Grand Opening: November 3, 2006
General Contractor: SJ Amoroso Construction