Bayfront Youth and Family Services
Tucked away in the Bixby Hills neighborhood of Long Beach is an office building recognized by an international design exhibition in 1961 not only as one of the eighteen best buildings in the United States, but as the top-designed commercial structure in the world.
This is the Cambridge Building, a small-scale Mid-Century Modern masterpiece designed by architect Edward Killingsworth of Killingsworth, Brady and Smith to fit on a very narrow site. Completed in 1960, the building was designed for development firm Cambridge Investment Corporation, although the rumor is it was designed to be usable as either a house or an office. The office’s main volume is a delicate frame of wooden and steel columns and beams holding large expanses of glass,
a classic Miesian box with a post-and-beam twist. The box sits in the center of a shallow reflecting pool, anchored by extended roof beams to two tall, unornamented stucco walls that support it in parenthetical style.
On one side of the glass box, the area beneath the roof beam is screened off; on the other, it is completely open, with a line of stepping stones scattered across it leading to the very recessed main entrance. This graceful building demonstrates the best of Mid-Century Modern architectural design not just dealing with, but openly celebrating, a small lot and a relatively low scale.