The Los Angeles Institute is the Institute located in Los Angeles, California. It is located inside a church, on a low bluff on the hills near the Pacific Coast Highway. It is currently co-headed by Helen Blackthorn and Aline Penhallow.
Following the deaths of the Dark War in December 2007, Andrew's brother Arthur Blackthorn took over as head of the Institute, and Diana Wrayburn took over as the children's tutor. The young Blackthorns—save the half-faerie Helen and Mark—were allowed to remain at the Institute when Arthur became their new legal guardian. The Institute also became home to a ward, Emma Carstairs.
In truth, Arthur's nephew Julian, from a very young age, had taken over all the responsibilities of running the Institute as well as his siblings' care, covering for his uncle's inability to run the Institute due to his poor mental health.
In 2012, Cristina Rosales arrived to stay at the Institute on her travel year when she turned eighteen and was shortly after followed by the Centurion Diego Rosales. In September 2012, many of Diego's fellow Centurions stayed as guests while investigating the location of Malcolm Fade's body. The Institute was surrounded by Malcolm Fade's sea monsters one evening before they were defeated and driven away by the Centurions, and the young Blackthorns and Kit were sent to the London Institute for protection.
Arthur's death shortly after worked in favor of the Cohort, who had been targeting the Institute as a potential seat of power for Horace Dearborn. The plot was abandoned when, following the events of the disastrous Council meeting with Annabel Blackthorn, Dearborn instead became Inquisitor, a much higher position than being the head of the Institute.
After Livvy's funeral, the Consul had Helen Blackthorn and Aline Penhallow immediately Portal to the Institute with the others, except Emma and Julian, so that Dearborn wouldn't have an opportunity to send them back to Wrangel Island or question their appointment as the temporary heads of the Institute. Cristina, Mark, and Kieran left briefly in an attempt to rescue Emma and Julian from Faerie but only managed to return with Clary Fairchild and Jace Herondale. They were later joined by Alec Lightwood and Magnus Bane as they looked for a cure for the warlock sickness. Julian and Emma came back some time after.
Using the knowledge he'd gathered over the years of running the Institute, Julian called together a war council meeting in the Sanctuary of the Institute with several Shadowhunters and Downworlders, establishing Livia's Watch against the Cohort in order to make a plan to expose them and take them down. He held two meetings: one that involved Shadowhunters, and because he anticipated betrayal from at least some of the attendants, a second meeting with only Downworlders secretly took place once the Shadowhunters not part of their inner circle had left.
The plan succeeded and after their victory on the field, Helen and Aline were officially appointed heads of the Institute, and the new Consul Alec was wed to his long-time boyfriend, Magnus Bane, on the beach outside the Institute.
The Institute is a massive structure of wood and stone. It sits on a low bluff near the Pacific Coast Highway, at the end of a long pebbled drive that winds through the hills. Behind the Institute is a stretch of desert and mountains that separate it from the Valley, and on another side is the highway, the beach, and the ocean in the distance.
Stone walls, in which a set of heavy gates is placed, surround the Institute. Beyond the gates is a grassy courtyard that stretches to a flight of stairs that leads to the front door. Behind the Institute is its parking lot and its small rock garden, separated by a low wall. The garden consists of rows of bushes, cacti and the many plaster status of Greek and Roman figures brought to the Institute by Arthur.
The Institute is a large building with many bedrooms and common areas. Its hallways have massive windows positioned some distance apart. The front of the Institute is lined with 37 windows, including the one in the attic that is papered over.
The floor of the Institute entryway is made of black and white marble that forms a mural depicting the shape of the Angel Raziel rising from Lake Lyn, holding the Mortal Cup and Sword. Previously plain marble, the image was curated as a memorial to the Shadowhunters who died during Sebastian Morgenstern's attack on the Institute in December 2007.
The entryway is decorated with uncomfortable-looking furniture that no one ever uses. Right across from the entrance is a large staircase that leads to the upper floors; located at the very center, it divides the Institute into its north and south wings. On the second floor is a gallery that overlooks the foyer.
The Institute's library, located on the top floor of the Institute, is smaller than those of other Institutes but is renowned for its large collection of books in Greek and Latin. It is said to have more books on the magic and occultism of the classical period than the Vatican City Institute. Maps are kept in a chest that bears the Blackthorn family's crest and their motto, Lex malla, lex nulla.
The library used to have terra-cotta tile and Mission windows which were destroyed during Sebastian's attack. The library was rebuilt with a modern design, with glass and steel, the floor polished mountain ash, protective spells applied over them evident.
Starting on the north side of the first floor was a spiral ramp that ascends and lines the walls; the outer side was lined with books and windows while the inner side, facing the library's interior, was a shoulder-high railing.
A large, stained-glass skylight once decorated the intricately-designed roof of the library. It used to be held closed with thick, glass copper lock and covered with protective runes. The oculus was heavily damaged by Unseelie magic in 2012. It was hastily repaired within two weeks, replaced with plain, warded glass, and the ceiling covered with a layer of protective rune-carved rowan wood.
Andrew Blackthorn's office in 2007 was a large room from which he performed his day-to-day business for running the Institute. Its walls were lined with books, and it had a mahogany desk with two telephones: one white and one black, the latter of which was used to communicate with the Gard.
Diana Wrayburn, the Institute's tutor since 2008, has an office in the Institute — a corner office that overlooks the highway and the sea. The office is sparsely decorated, with only a photograph on her desk and flowers on the windowsill. The floor is made up of alternating blue and white polished tiles; the white tiles each contained drawings of symbols of different Shadowhunter families.
Arthur Blackthorn mainly worked out of the attic, reached through narrow stairs leading to the space above the fourth floor.
Arthur sought out the attic, not wanting to be impeded with too much light as he worked and stocked his books and papers. When he first moved there, the room had been dusty, with floorboards blackened with mold, stacks of old trunks, and a massive desk with a broken leg. The attic had two skylights built into the roof which Arthur covered with butcher paper to further dim the room.
Arthur stuffed the attic with hundreds of books—arranged haphazardly in a filing system only he could possibly understand, various papers including essays and monographs, and statues and old pottery. He also had at least six desks in the room as he bought a new one every time one got buried beneath his piles of possessions.
The Sanctuary is a massive stone-bound room for welcoming Downworlder guests, particularly those incapable of stepping into the hollowed ground of the Institute. It has two sets of doors: one leads outside, accessible to anyone; the other set connects to the inside of the Institute, at the end of a corridor off its main entryway, and thus opens only to Shadowhunter blood. The inner doors are made of copper metal, that had since turned green with verdigris, and runes of protection and welcome wind around its framework.
The room is in the shape of a crescent moon; alternating squares of darker and lighter wood, form the pattern of an Angelic Power rune on its floor. There is a great stone chair for the Institute's head and a pendant chandelier hangs from the ceiling.
The Blackthorn family's sleeping quarters are found in the south wing; a nursery is also found in this wing. During her time as a ward of the Institute, Emma Carstairs chose a bedroom at the other end.
The space that the Blackthorns uses as an art studio, found on one of the upper floors and reached through one of the back staircases, consists of two rooms: the main room that every resident had access to, and a smaller room that is Julian Blackthorn's private space, locked at all times.
The main room is the larger of the two. Two of its walls are transparent glass, one giving a view of the ocean and the other of the desert. The other two walls are painted creamy taupe and are covered with Eleanor's bright, abstract artworks. At the center of the room is a massive block of granite which serves as one of Julian's work spaces, and there are also easels for the others.
The smaller room was once used by Eleanor as a darkroom, but Julian used the room to privately paint his muse, Emma Carstairs. Sketches and paintings of Emma cover almost every surface of the room. The room has two countertops running the length of its two walls and has only one window, next to which is an easel.
The weapons room is a windowless, cavernous space, with almost every surface filled with a large variety of weapons, gear, and some battle apparel such as boots and armor. Steles are kept in a ceramic tile bowl, and seraph blades can also be found on a table covered with a long cloth. The walls and floors are made of white-silver granite; islands of the same stone are placed at regular intervals throughout the room, and a large mirror is on one end.
The training room takes up almost an entire level of the Institute. Its east and west walls are clear glass, overlooking the ocean, and its floor is highly polished wood. The Institute's trainer, one of whom was Diana, would set up the area depending on that day's lesson, but it may contain training mats, targets for knife-throwing, or training dummies. The training room has a large selection of weapons hanging on the walls, and Diana had stocked the room's weapons racks and crates with a wide array of weapons.
The room is about twenty to thirty feet high, with its intricate rafters and pitched roof also sometimes used by Shadowhunters-in-training when practicing their climbing, jumping, and falling.
The Institute's kitchen is a large room with yellow walls, windows that overlook the ocean, and a big farmer's table surrounded by benches and chairs where the Institute's residents usually ate, forgoing the dining room. The table and the counters are tiled with designs that form scenes from classical literature. There is a copper cooking range and yellow, porcelain double sinks. Emma and the Blackthorns typically ate in the small eating area in the kitchen.
The formal dining room is located near the foyer. It has a long oak table surrounded by high-backed chairs, and framed portraits of Blackthorns, brought to the Institute from England by Arthur, hang on the walls. Emma and the others only ever used the dining room when Arthur ate with them, which was rare, or when they had too many guests whom they wouldn't be able to accommodate in the kitchen.
The schoolroom is where the young Shadowhunters in training of an Institute are taught lessons. It has at least one board and a number of desks and chairs. The room has high windows, and one long window runs across the main wall of the room, overlooking the front of the Institute down to the highway.
- This is the primary setting of The Dark Artifices.