The Allan Hancock Foundation Archive

The Hancock Foundation Building

The heart of the Hancock Foundation was the building, funds for which were donated to the University of Southern California by Allan Hancock. Construction began in 1939, and the building was dedicated in 1941. Situated in the heart of USC's University Park campus, the building was designed by Samuel E. Lunden, consulting architect, with C. Raimond Johnson, and decorated with bas reliefs in cast concrete by sculptor Merrell Gage.
Gage's bas reliefs depict zoological specimens and represent the purpose of the building. On the west side (main entrance) are a total of 26 small panels illustrating animals and plants encountered by the cruises of the Velero III up and down the Pacific coast. On the north and east walls of the building (the exterior of the auditorium) are much larger (essentially life size) reliefs depicting mammals from the Pleistocene discovered in the La Brea tar pits (property originally owned by the Hancock family).

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