May 23, 2022

UCLA’s Film & Television Archive Has a Classical Yet State-Of-The-Art Home

From the Los Angeles Daily News:

When you’ve got more than 450,000 films, TV shows and other moving image materials, almost all of them in their original photochemical or video formats, you’ve got to store all that stuff somewhere.

UCLA’s Film & Television Archive does. And it keeps that vast and varied collection of films that date back from 1889 to recent blockbusters at a monumental facility in Santa Clarita that combines state-of-the-art preservation technology with awesome, classical beauty.

The archive moved its collection from locations in Hollywood and Westwood into the $200 million Stoa building in 2015. Financed by – and built to the specifications of – philanthropist, professor and Hewlett-Packard heir David W. Packard, the multi-winged edifice is designed to resemble the ancient Greek, multi-columned public porticoes it’s named for on the outside and Florence’s San Marco monastery on its white-walled, soaring-ceilinged interior.


“We have 120 vaults” for storing decomposition-prone and highly flammable nitrate film, the archive’s director Jan-Christopher Horak said as an elevator took us 35 feet underground.


The Stoa was built to last at least as long as the precious cinema heritage it houses. The building can withstand an 8.1-magnitude earthquake. Even the impressive, beamed ceiling above its main floor is sturdier than it quite solidly looks; painted to resemble hardwood, its slats and massive beams are actually made of steel-reinforced concrete. Packard originally wanted wood, like it is in San Marco, but the fire marshal said “Absolutely not. You’ve got nitrate in this building.”

All-in-all, the Stoa seems more than a fitting home for the 54-year-old archive, which is the nation’s largest only after the one kept by the Library of Congress.

Read the Complete Article (approx. 1400 words)

See Also: Q&A with UCLA Film & Television Archive Cataloging Supervisor (via UCLA)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.