Compton City Hall and Civic Center | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Compton City Hall and Civic Center

When the City of Compton completed its new City Hall and Civic Center in 1977, it declared a new beginning for a city incorporated in 1888. The new Civic Center included a post office, police department, county library, and courthouse arrayed around a large, paved central plaza creating an open public space for pedestrians.

The plaza’s focal point is the King Memorial, a large sculpture of angled white planes arranged in a circle and converging at the top. It was designed by artist Gerald Gladstone in collaboration with the Civic Center’s architect, Harold L. Williams of Kinsey Mead & Williams, to be a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Most of the Civic Center’s buildings are in the Late Modern style, including the much-admired City Hall completed in 1976.

The buildings reflect the skillful hand of Williams, a prolific local African American architect who apprenticed under Paul R. Williams (no relation) for years. For City Hall, Williams designed a two-story, flat-roofed building clad largely in floor-to-ceiling glass.

It is dominated by massive vertical concrete fins that span the length of the horizontally oriented building and act as solar shades. The shades are anchored in a shallow reflecting pool which provides an additional visual touch to the Late Modern building and also serves to cool the interior.

City Hall’s main entrances are capped by heavy, upwardly angled concrete canopies that provide a real sense of occasion to entering the government facility.

The building's window glazing replacement earned a Conservancy Preservation Award in 2013.

Photo by Michael Locke

Pasadena Police Department

For the Police Department, located directly across from City Hall, Stern was told to create something that expressed the formidable quality of law while also inviting people into the building.
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Security Pacific National Bank

The Security Pacific National Bank building by Jim Tyler of Craig Elwood Associates embodies the Corporate International style with a reinforced concrete frame clad in bronze anodized aluminum and curtain walls of bronze-tinted glass.
Gas Company Tower
Photo by Annie Laskey/L.A. Conservancy

Gas Company Tower

The 1991 Gas Company Tower rises in a series of cliff-like setbacks and inverted corners, with an elliptical top of blue glass symbolizing the trademark blue flame of the building’s primary tenant