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Summer 1998
Royce Revived
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First, the towers were stabilized, then the entire building was opened up to add 25.5 million pounds of concrete and 1.8 million pounds of steel, doubling its mass. None of these improvements is visible, but it’s a comforting thought that Royce should be one of the safest places on campus if there is another big shake.

What is immediately visible is the way that the old surfaces have been renovated. The exterior was scrubbed and patched. Broken sections of terra cotta -- a baked clay that was substituted for stone -- were replaced by the firm that did the work 70 years ago, using some of the same molds. Mural paintings in the vaults of the loggias, showing the seals of ancient European universities and portraits of history's great thinkers, were skillfully restored.

The academic areas have been transformed by stripping out unsightly additions, restoring the original decor, and installing new lighting. “Over the years, people had come to use the building in private ways,” says Phelps. "The earthquake allowed a dramatic reorganization of space, and we’ve put the grander rooms back into public use." Each language department formerly had its own library; these have been consolidated in one room. A humanities reception room now opens onto a terrace within the south loggia, looking across to Powell. It feels as though you are stepping onto the front porch of the campus.

When Royce was planned, the first provost of UCLA intended the auditorium to serve as a gathering place in which students would provide their own music and entertainment. He approved of boxing matches as a healthy form of competition, but frowned on public concerts. As a result, there are few lobby spaces to accommodate the crowds that now attend arts events. These few have been enhanced, and new doors link the west lobby to the Ahmanson terrace.

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