AKA: California State Department of Transportation Headquarters, Los Angeles, CA; CalTrans District 7 Headquarters Replacement Building, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings

Designers: Arup, Ove, and Partners (firm); Clark Construction Group, LLC, Building Contractors (firm); Gruen, Victor, Associates, Architecture / Planning / Engineering (firm); Martin, John A., and Associates, Incorporated, (JAMA) Structural Engineers (firm); Morphosis Architects, Incorporated (firm); Ove Arup (structural engineer); Alfred James Clark (building contractor); Victor David Gruen (architect); John A. Martin Sr. (structural engineer); Thomas M. Mayne (architect)

Dates: constructed 2003-2005

13 stories, total floor area: 700,000 sq. ft.

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100 Main Street
Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90012-4107

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In 2000, the California State Department of Transportation staged a competition that attracted 11 entrants from around the world; the competition program called for "world-class design excellence, sustainability, integration of art and architecture and abuilding that contributes to the revitalization of the civic center." The three finalists were: Morphosis, Santa Monica, CA; Enric Miralles Benedetta Tagliabue, Barcelona, Spain, and Rem Koolhaas and the Office of Metropolitan Architecture, Rotterdam, Netherlands; the 67,000-square meter proposal by Morphosis won; as per the competition guidelines, the building had to be energy efficient; architectural critic Martin Filler described the building's energy-saving skin: "The high-tech sun-screening device is computer-programmed to filter natural light as it varies with the hours and the seasons, imparting a chameleon-like character to the building that some find unnerving. At noon, when its carapace is most impenetrable, the building looks forbiddingly hermetic, making the put-downs somewhat understandable. Yet to watch the west facade metamorphose from ethereal translucence in late afternoon to glowing transparency in early evening is a thrilling, almost cinematic, experience." (See Martin Filler, "Silver Screen", House and Garden, 174: 2, 54-57, 02/2005.) The headquarters also had a subterranean garage that could accommodate 1,142 automobiles; the project team included: Gruen Associates, Interior Architect, John A. Martin and Associates, Structural Engineer, Arup, Services and Facade Engineer, and Clark Construction, Building Contractor; Sylvia Kuhle acted as Morphosis's Project Manager, Pavel Getov, Project Architect, Anthony Mrkic, Job Captain.

The building stood 430 feet long and 200 feet high, covering about one-third of its site. At 13 stories tall, it contained over 700,000 square feet of space. The building cost approximately $170 million, translating to about $165 per square foot, a relative bargain in Los Angeles, CA.

PCAD id: 1123