The exterior of the building (see our home page) has the form of an ancient Greek stoa, a type of building very common in the central public areas of ancient Greek towns, where they provided shaded walkways for those wishing to meet friends to discuss business, politics, or philosophy. The Agora (or marketplace) of ancient Athens had several stoas, including the famous “painted stoa” which gave its name to “stoic” philosophy.

The interior is modeled closely on the 15th century Convent of San Marco in Florence. The Convent in Florence contains a series of cells for monks, many decorated by Fra Angelico. We have offices in place of the monks’ cells (without Fra Angelico paintings).

We know of no historic precedent for combining these two architectural styles, but they seem remarkably compatible. Our marble columns are made of solid stone quarried near Trani in southern Italy.

Our stoa is not intended for public events. It is a quiet place where we can work on preserving and studying films (and other things). The literature from antiquity was copied and preserved by monks, so it seems appropriate that we should imitate them by preserving cinema in our monastery.


The PHI Stoa is the West Coast complement to the Packard Campus of the Library of Congress in Culpeper, Virginia. Both are dedicated to the storage, conservation and study of our audio-visual heritage, and both are dedicated to providing broader public access.

Click here to read about the Packard Campus at the Library of Congress.

The PHI Stoa was especially designed to provide space for the UCLA Film and Television Archive. For many years, PHI has been a major funder and collaborator of the UCLA Archive.

Click here for a list of films preserved by UCLA with support from PHI (and related foundations).


Our stoa contains many offices and workrooms. A separate wing has film storage vaults. The UCLA Film Archive occupies one wing with 24 office units and also has use of additional offices and workrooms for nitrate film. PHI has about 30 rooms in another wing of the stoa.

One set of 120 vaults was designed specifically for nitrate film. These vaults must meet stringent standards for fire safety, since nitrate film is highly combustible. A larger set of vaults serves for the storage of safety film and other items. All of the vaults require carefully controlled temperature and humidity.

More than 90% of the films in the vaults belong to the UCLA Archive, and the remainder to PHI, which has placed its film collection on deposit with UCLA, which is responsible for all “collection services” (such as inspecting, shipping, and receiving).

For many years PHI and UCLA have jointly operated a film lab, which does printing but not chemical processing of film elements. Our stoa contains a series of rooms for the film lab, which will increasingly involve digital work.

There are three screening rooms, intended primarily for internal use. The largest could be used for small semi-public events. All three are approved for nitrate film projection.

The stoa, and especially the vaults, require a large and sophisticated air handling system.

Future Expansion

From the beginning, we have imagined that our Santa Clarita property (64 acres) could someday become a campus where many groups devoted to historical preservation could work in a community of archives, some sharing buildings, some having their own buildings.

It is possible that the Library of Congress might have a presence at the Stoa. In the future the UCLA Film Archive may wish to have its own building, especially if its needs outstrip the space available in the Stoa.