City of Pasadena
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Resource Summary
DPR523B - Bldg, Struct & Object [print]
State of California - The Resource Agency
Primary #:  
HRI #:  
*NRHP Status Code: 5S1 
*Resource Name or #: ST LUKE'S MEDICAL CENTER  Survey Title:  
Original Use: Hospital 
B4.  Present Use:  
Primary Architectural Style: Zigzag Moderne 
Secondary Architectural Style: Art Deco 
Construction History: Date Built: 1933 
Additions to St. Luke Hospital have altered the appearance of the original hospital block. The loggia along the Washington Boulevard façade was enclosed in 1953, and it is now used as offices. The central portion of the loggia now serves as the vestibule for the Washington Boulevard entrance. The structure of the hospital block is monolithic by design. The loggia could be restored to its original open configuration as part of the conversion of the hospital block to a new use.

The one-story emergency room was added to the west end of the hospital block in 1958.

In 1965, the neon lit cross was installed atop the dome of the tower.

The ICU/Radiology wings were added to St. Luke in 1976. The structures were situated in the deep front setback along Washington Boulevard, encroaching into the main open space lawn that contributes to the tranquil, bucolic character of St. Luke Hospital. Each wing is attached to the hospital block by a glass-enclosed walkway from secondary access points at the stairwells. It appears attention was paid to the design and construction of these wings, because their attachment to the hospital block has had minimal physical impact on the original design and integrity of the historic building.

The Obstetrics/Surgery wing was added in 1989. However this addition is located behind the hospital block and emergency room and to the west of the annex. The freestanding “X” design of the annex is partially blocked from public view along Del Rey Avenue.

The distinctive turquoise tile and stepped ribbing on the landmark dome of the 1933 hospital block was replaced in 1997 to repair damage sustained from the Sierra Madre Earthquake of 1987. The chevron-banded, tiled dome was a significant architectural design element of the exterior. Currently, the dome is clad in lead and copper sheeting. The removal of the stepped ribbing and monochromatic coloring has resulted in a sleeker, Moorish silhouette for the dome.

The convent and chapel remain intact.
Moved?: Yes No  Unknown Date:    Original Location:   
Related Features:
Architect: Gene Verge; Sr.-Hospital 1933, 1947  
b. Builder:  
Significance: Theme:   Area: City 
Period of Significance: 1933-1947  Property Type: Hospital 
Applicable Criteria:
National Register Criteria: California Register:   Local Register:  
Context:   Other:  
Historically, the grounds of St. Luke Medical Center featured wide swaths of open manicured lawns, orchards and gardens. Today, the site still retains its historical sense of openness despite being subdivided down to approximately 12-acres. The hospital block, convent and chapel provide insight into the development of the Moderne Style of architecture in Pasadena. The early period of the style is evident in the hospital block, with decorative details based on modern machinery, and a strong vertical emphasis to the massing of the building. The later period of the style, reflected in the convent and chapel, demonstrates the emerging influence of Modernism in local architecture. Together, the above three buildings form the largest intact grouping of Moderne structures in the City, and demonstrate the evolution of the style over its stylistic phase. With its domed tower set against the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains, St. Luke Hospital has been a visually prominent community landmark since its founding in 1933

The hospital block, annex, and convent and chapel are excellent local examples of the Moderne Style of architecture. In fact, the grouping of the three buildings offer a contrast of the early, highly detailed, dynamic example of the 1933 hospital block with the later less ornamental examples of the post-war convent and chapel. Indeed, announcements in the papers of the day described St. Luke Hospital “one of the finest examples of modern concrete construction in the state” when it opened in 1933. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange had obviously taken pride in the buildings and maintained the exterior appearances intact, including the windows. The following features of St. Luke that characteristic of the Moderne Style: Hospital block- chevrons and other stylized and geometric motifs occur on the façade, the tower above the roofline emphasizing vertical height. Chapel and convent-Smooth wall surfaces, flat roofline with coping, horizontal grooves and lines in the walls and an overall horizontal emphasis.

Gene Verge Sr. was an important Los Angeles architect whose designs made significant contributions to the architectural heritage of Pasadena and southern California.

Gene Verge, Sr. (1893-1953) was born in 1893 in St. Boniface, Manitoba, Canada, and immigrated to southern California with his family in 1895. He was a member of the St. Vincent College (now Loyola University) Class of 1911 and studied at the Beaux Arts School of Architecture in Paris. He worked with many leading architecture firms before establishing his own firm, Gene Verge & Associates, in 1928. In addition to St. Luke Hospital, Verge is also known for his designs of: the Dominguez Memorial Seminary, Compton (1924); additions to St. Joseph Hospital, Orange; St. Finbar Church, Burbank (1946); St. Mary’s Cathedral, Colon, Panama; Church of the Incarnation, Glendale (1951); the J. V. Barrow Residence, Windsor Square; the P. N. Snyder Residence, San Marino; the Buster Keaton Residence, Beverly Hills (1925); and the W. G. Hunt Residence, Berkeley Square. Locally, Gene Verge, Sr. designed residences at 1441 San Pasqual Street (1931) and 1105 Linda Vista Avenue (1925).

St. Luke Hospital offers three outstanding examples of Moderne design that exhibit quality craftsmanship, design and detailing in their overall design and detailing, in their overall relationship of forms, the stained glass windows of the chapel, zigzags, chevrons, and other stylized and geometric motifs, horizontal grooves and lines in the walls, and its use of Art Deco elements. All three buildings, although built over a span of 14 years, are significant under this criterion because of the use of similar design vocabulary and quality materials.
Additional Resource Attributes: HP41 
Date of Evaluation: 08/19/2002