Desmond Office Building

Los Angeles, CA, USA

Our specialist engineers and consultants worked with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) to adapt and renovate a vacant warehouse in Los Angeles’ South Park district. Originally designed as an automobile showroom in 1916, the historic, 5-story brick building was transformed into 87,950ft2 of modern, loft style office space for creative professional.

Challenge

One challenge on this project was making sure the project met all codes for a seismic retrofit.

Desmond Office Building
This iconic five-storey building in downtown Los Angeles was once a car showroom. Image: Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP

Solution

The design capitalizes on the building’s high ceilings, large windows, and exposed concrete structure. SOM added a sixth floor in the form of a glass pavilion, which provides additional office and conference space. The pavilion connects to a north facing terrace offering dramatic views of the city. The ground level houses a small cafe.

Many aspects of the design were conceived and realized in compliance with the principles of sustainable building. The original steel windows were refurbished and reglazed with high performance glass to help reduce energy usage. A new storefront system was installed at ground level, providing a high degree of transparency and a strong connection to the streetscape.

Desmond Office Building
Workers enjoy modern loft-style work and leisure areas, with an outdoor deck providing health and wellbeing benefits. Image: Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP

Value

This seismic retrofit breathes new life into the long vacant Desmond building, bringing 500 new jobs to Downtown L.A. and further strengthening the area’s emergence as one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in California to live and work.

Desmond Office Building
This iconic five-storey building in downtown Los Angeles was once a car showroom. Image: Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP

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