Federal Aviation Administration West Coast Headquarters | Los Angeles Conservancy
Federal Aviation Administration West Coast Headquarters
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Federal Aviation Administration West Coast Headquarters

The Federal Aviation Administration’s West Coast Headquarters are housed in a building that is practically programmatic: a rounded, glass-and-aluminum-skinned, six-story office that looks to be clad in the aerodynamic skin of some experimental aircraft.

Designed by Cesar Pelli and Anthony Lumsden of Daniel Mann Johnson & Mendenhall (DMJM) in 1966, the building was the first-designed Southern California building to have a mirrored skin. It was not the first built, though, as it was not completed until 1973. The mirrored glass skin would become ubiquitous on corporate architectural designs of the 1970s and 1980s, but it fittingly saw its start here in the world of aerospace.

Pelli and Lumsden’s Late Modern design features a rectangular plan with rounded corners and a recessed first floor to give the main volume a lightweight feel. Reversed mullions keep a low profile, staying out of the way of the spectacular glass skin. The glass reflects the sky, making the large building seem airy and fragile, even bubble-like. It seems to hover over an expanse of rolling lawn. The FAA building is a lovely embodiment of Pelli’s desire to use his late 1960s – early 1970s glass skin designs to create a delicate, organic style of architecture that de-emphasized mass.

Photo by Tom Davies

Glendale County Building

The 1959 building's modern design has long been recognized as an important example of mid-century office design and incorporates contrasting materials and forms as well as significant interior elements
Photo by Laura Dominguez/L.A. Conservancy

Anthony Quinn Library

Actor and East L.A. native Anthony Quinn is memorialized at the library that is now located on the site of his childhood home.
Long Beach City Hall. Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Long Beach Civic Center

Designed by a consortium of local architects, the Long Beach Civic Center is an excellent example of Late Modern architecture and civic planning.