Max Maltzman is one of Los Angeles' premier architects remembered for his grand, high-style Los Angeles apartments and hotels. Artists, architectural aficionados, and admirers flock to his buildings as much for the richness of the experience as for its visual delight. The axiom goes, “to admire a Maltzman building is one thing, to live in one is an entirely different experience.” Matzman is remembered not only for his architectural creations, but for being one of the first Jewish architects to set up his own practice in the city of Los Angeles.


Max Maltzman was born in Nickolayev, Russia on May 12, 1899. He was one of six children of Esther Maltzman and Abraham Maltzman, a carpenter. The family immigrated to Montreal, Canada in 1909, but Maltzman settled in Chelsea, Massachusetts in 1910.

After military service in World War I, Max returned to Boston where, by 1921, he was an architecture student. He married Sadye Seltzer (1906-1966) later that year. Sadye was only fifteen years old at the time and was a native of Russia. They had three children: Elliott (born 1923), Muriel (born 1924) and Donald (born 1938). Mr. Maltzman became an American citizen in 1923.

Max and Sadye moved to Los Angeles in the 1920s with endless bounds of determination and ability. They lived for many years on Buckingham Road. Maltzman established an office at 169 North La Brea. He later worked at 704 South Spring Street, Room 605. He demonstrated masterful versatility in the types of buildings he designed, and he was well-versed in a number of styles.

Carving out LA’s Architectural Frontier
The Northmere

On March 1, 1929, the City of Los Angeles issued the permit for what would become one of Maltzman’s most revered buildings, The Northmere, at 1840 N. Berendo St in Los Feliz. The 18-unit apartment radiates a hybrid of Italian Revival meets Spanish Colonial Revival.

The building features a low-pitched roof, symmetrical façade, restrained formality, belt courses, classical cast-stone and plaster decorative motifs, and multi-paned sash windows slightly recessed between pilasters. The Northmere has been featured as a location in film and television productions including the upcoming Warren Beatty film about Howard Hughes, which is slated for release in 2016.

After the success of the Northmere, Maltzman quickly developed a reputation as a designer of artistically-styled multiple-unit residences.

The Ravenswood

Built by Paramount Pictures in 1930, it is considered a landmark Art Deco masterpiece. The Ravenswood at 570 N. Rossmore has been declared a Historic-Cultural Monument (no. 768) by the City of Los Angeles and is a destination for international architecture buffs. Throughout the years it has been the home to celebrities including Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, and Mae West.

Mae West moved into Apartment #611, a 2 bedroom, 2 bath unit, shortly after her arrival in Hollywood in 1932. The apartment had been reserved for her by Paramount and she liked it so much she lived there until her death in 1980.

Sam Sharpe Triplex

One of Maltzman’s early efforts at multiple-unit housing was the Sam Sharpe Triplex, designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style at 1977 Kenmore Avenue.

Jewish Community Building

Maltzman paired his architectural gift with his dedication to his Jewish heritage by undertaking numerous projects for the Jewish community, including the Beth Thepelo Synagogue on Cincinnati Street between Fickett and Mott Streets in East Los Angeles; an expansion of the Talmud Torah Synagogue (the “Breed Street Shul”) at 247 North Breed Street; Morgen David Synagogue (at its original site); and the Hebrew Home for the Aged at 325-357 South Boyle Avenue, which features three Romanesque-style structures built around a patio.

The El Cortez and The Charmont

Located in Santa Monica at 827 4th Street, the El Cortez is a distinctive Beaux Arts four-story building with inviting balconies. The Charmont, a Churrigueresque/Art Deco mix, features laments of both the Mission Revival-Spanish Colonial Revival and the Art Deco style. The Charmont was designed to be a luxurious high-rise. The blending of Spanish Colonial Revival and Art Deco elements was popular style in the 1920s and is sometimes known as "Med-Deco." The main entrance is located in a walled courtyard that features a two-tiered fountain with an intricate Moorish-patterned backsplash in polychrome tile. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Sahara Hotel & Casino Las Vegas

Max Maltzman was the supervising architect for the Sahara Hotel and Casino that debuted in 1952 on the Las Vegas Strip. According to The Las Vegas Sun, Maltzman took “inspiration from many exotic cultures fringing the African Sahara desert to create an oasis of modern luxury and comfort.”

The Legacy

Max Maltzman’s buildings exude regal beauty and class along with an overwhelming sense of Southern California dreaminess. His creations initially draw you in with their European grandeur and, after closer reflection, steadies you into the realm of your own possibility: Los Angeles.

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