Department of Water and Power Building | Los Angeles Conservancy
Department of Water and Power Building
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Department of Water and Power Building

Bunker Hill’s Department of Water and Power building may be the only office building in Los Angeles even more beloved for its nighttime appearance than for its look in the light of day. Both manifestations are extraordinary, as they illustrate with proud literalness the water and power on which the city depends.

Designed by Albert C. Martin and Associates and completed in 1965, the seventeen-story Corporate International-style building rises from the center of an enormous reflecting pool punctuated by fountains.

In the daylight, it appears as a Modern temple dedicated to the worship of water, separated from the rest of downtown by a careless abundance of the precious liquid. Its vertical steel columns support horizontal concrete floor slabs cantilevered twelve feet beyond the building, shading the office windows within and highlighting the structural system. At night, the horizontal elements are the only building components visible as the rest of it melts into a blaze of light, a shining lantern on the hill. Electric bills be damned, it says, there’s more than enough power to go around.

The building’s main lobby is impressive in its own right, two stories high and graced by a huge spiral staircase that seems to float in the air. Architectural historian Reyner Banham described the DWP headquarters as “the only public building in the whole city that genuinely graces the scene and lifts the spirit (and sits in firm control of the whole basis of human existence in Los Angeles).”

Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Santa Fe Springs Civic Center

Renowned architect and planner William L. Pereira designed the civic heart Santa Fe Springs, creating a grouping of one-story concrete block buildings carefully sited in a landscape that harmoniously combines alleés of trees, lush plantings, and paved plazas and walkways.
Otis College of Art and Design
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Otis College of Art and Design

Originally IBM Aerospace Headquarters, the landmark Mid-Century Modern design was built for IBM to cater to the region's burgeoning aerospace industry.
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Carling House

Designed for film composer Foster Carling, who wanted an open plan to accommodate his grand piano, the home's design played a key role in developing architect John Lautner's extraordinary ideas and methods.