Building

The Main Museum's front entrance
Construction Timeline
Phase 1: Beta Main
Opened October 2016

In October 2016, The Main opened Beta Main as a space to present public exhibitions and programs while the rest of the museum is under construction. True to its name, Beta Main is a site for testing and learning in anticipation of the creation of The Main. The 3,500-square-foot space features 15-ft high ceilings, original column and tile work from the early 1900s, and windows looking out to 4th Street.
Quick Facts for Phase 1:
  • Opening date: October 30, 2016
  • Gallery square footage: 3,500
  • Studios and office square footage: 1,800
  • Phase 1 total square footage: 5,300

plan showing areas on ground floor: artist studio complex and beta main gallery

Phase 2: Artist-in-Residence Complex, Mezzanine Gallery, and Staff Offices
Opened February 2018

Phase 2 of the museum included the build-out of an artist studio complex featuring five studio spaces and a communal area for The Main’s Artist-in-Residence program, converting the mezzanine into a large gallery space, and converting a new space for the staff offices.

Artist-in-Residence Studios: Central to The Main’s mission is to support Los Angeles art and artists, the most direct way of doing this is through the development of its Artist-in-Residence program. The museum expanded the program by constructing a dedicated complex on the first floor with five new studios and communal spaces. 

Mezzanine Gallery:  Above the new first-floor studio complex is a 2,750-square-foot mezzanine gallery. The museum transformed space on the mezzanine level into an open-plan gallery with concrete floors, open ceilings, original intact brick walls, and 40 feet of glass windows overlooking the first-floor gallery.  The new mezzanine gallery is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday when exhibitions are on view (check current open hours) with free admission.

Staff Offices: The museum’s offices, expanding to accommodate the museum’s growing staff, are in an area adjacent to the mezzanine gallery. 

plan showing areas on mezzanine level: mezzanine gallery and staff offices
Rendering of The Main's new artist studio complex, courtesy of Land Office
Quick Facts for Phase 2:
  • 5 new Artist-in-Residence studios
  • New mezzanine gallery square footage: 2,750
  • New artist studio complex square footage: 2,000
  • New staff offices and other space square footage: 3,000
  • Phase 2 total square footage (includes converting some space from Phase 1): 7,750
  • Total square footage open after Phase 2: 11,500

About The Building

The Hellman Building is a historic six-story structure located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, constructed between 1903 and 1906. It is a representative example of commercial architecture in the early 20th century with its brick and concrete structure. When it was built, it was the largest steel frame building in Los Angeles. The Hellman building operated as part of the Farmers and Merchants Bank and as office spaces in the first part of the 20th century and was formerly owned by the Rapid Transit District, now recognized as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Abandoned in the 1980's, Gilmore Associates purchased the empty Hellman building in 1999 and converted the historic building into mixed-use spaces, including apartments, restaurants, and retail through the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance.

About The Architect

Nora Gordon is Principal of Land Office, an architectural practice focused on spaces for arts and culture. After receiving a BA in Art History and a Master of Architecture from Tulane University, Ms. Gordon returned to Los Angeles to work with Michael Maltzan Architects on projects for the Hammer Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. Building on this experience, she has played significant roles in realizing the Getty Villa’s research campus and the new museum, The Broad.  She founded Land Office in 2008 to support the architectural goals of emerging institutions. Ms. Gordon is a licensed architect in California and Nevada.

Land Office is a collaborative architectural practice with a focus on emerging cultural and public-interest institutions. Led by Nora Gordon AIA, Land Office is committed to an architecture that draws equally on thoughtful design and a strong grasp of construction realities to align the artful with the sensible. Land Office's high level of talent and professionalism reflects our experience realizing major cultural projects at high-profile offices in Los Angeles. We combine well-considered concepts with sensitive expression and materiality to produce deft responses to each client’s expectations. In all our work we strive for the best balance of the ambitious and the achievable.

Land Office was established in 2008 and is located in Downtown Los Angeles. Current projects include performance, cultural, display, and educational spaces.