Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's John Ferraro Building / A. C. Martin & Associates

Exterior View | © ArchEyes

The John Ferraro Building, headquarters for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, is an iconic building in the City of Los Angeles. It was designed by the firm of Albert C. Martin and Associates and opened in May 1965. The 17-story, 880,537 square-foot building was designed and Engineered to be energy-efficient, cost-effective, and to be a powerful visual statement.

John Ferraro Building Technical Information

  • Architects: AC Martin Partners, Inc.
  • Design Team: Albert Carey Martin Sr., Albert Carey Martin Jr., J. Edward Martin
  • Landscape Architects: Cornell, Bridgers, Troller
  • Location: 111 North Hope Street, Los Angeles, United States
  • Topics: International Style (Corporate International), High Rise, Office
  • Area: 890,000 Sq. Ft.
  • Height: 64 meters
  • Project Year: 1962-1965
  • Photographs: © ArchEyes, © Julius Shulman

As an all-electric facility, the building proudly announced its purpose and design when its internal illumination was originally lit at night, shining like a lantern for all to see, especially from the
nearby freeway.1

DWP Headquarters – John Ferraro Building Photographs
View from Parking lot of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's John Ferraro Building / A. C. Martin & Associates

1965 Photograph | © Julius Shulman

Front Facade at Night with illumination - John Ferraro Building

1965 Photograph | © Julius Shulman

Long Facade

1965 Photograph | © Julius Shulman

Facade Corner of the John Ferraro Building in Los Angeles

2020 Photograph | © ArchEyes

Facade Corner of the John Ferraro Building in Los Angeles

2020 Photograph | © ArchEyes

Corner Detail View

2020 Photograph | © ArchEyes

Sculpture in front of the building

2020 Photograph | © ArchEyes

Entrance of the building

2020 Photograph | © ArchEyes

Storefron at ground level and portico - Department of Water & Power's John Ferraro Building

2020 Photograph | © ArchEyes

The DWP Building was specifically designed to be a signature facility for the agency, with state of the art technology to symbolize and harness its twin purpose of water and power. As an all-electric facility, the building proudly announced its purpose and design when its internal illumination was originally lit at night, shining like a lantern for all to see, especially from the
nearby freeway. With its gold lights and dramatic sprays, the reflecting pool and fountains unmistakably linked the building and the agency to the precious resource that made Los Angeles possible.

Its concrete floor slabs extend well outside the glass enclosure, highlighting the system of a series of horizontal planes. The 15-foot overhangs at each floor not only provide visual distinction but minimizes sunlight hitting the glass, helping to keep the building cool during the day. The windows’ clear glass is set in and become effectively invisible, especially at night, when interior illumination further emphasizes the floor slabs’ horizontal lines.

Where another important Corporate Modern design, the Seagram Building, used smoked glass to emphasize its overall rectangular volume, the DWP Building took a different direction using International Style to emphasize its structure as an open frame.

Construction

Construction Photograph - Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's John Ferraro Building / A. C. Martin & Associates

Aerial View during Construction

Construction Photograph - Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's John Ferraro Building / A. C. Martin & Associates

Construction Photograph

Construction Photograph - Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's John Ferraro Building / A. C. Martin & Associates

Construction Photograph

Text by the Architects

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Headquarters (renamed the John Ferraro Building in 2000) provided a central headquarters complex that consolidated eleven scattered offices of one of the nation’s largest public utilities on a 13-acre hillside site which formed the westerly terminus of the Los Angeles Civic Center at the time of completion.

The 17-story office building served as a complete “working city” for 4,000 civil service employees with a base structure accommodating 2,400 cars. The typical office floor is approximately an acre in size, with approximately 1,635,000 square feet. A helistop located on the penthouse level facilitated the Department’s field inspections.

Outstanding design features included developing a straightforward, strong, and simple building form with a horizontal emphasis of a translucent character, acting as a complementary neighbor to the Civic Center and the Music Center buildings. A major part of its aesthetic character was determined by the use of illumination as a design element and developing a unique three-dimensional  “space increment,” which provided a “balanced environment” concept of cooling and lighting.

In 2012, the Los Angeles City Council officially designated the building as a Historic-Cultural Monument.

DWP Headquarters – John Ferraro Building Plans
Site Plan - Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's John Ferraro Building / A. C. Martin & Associates

© AC Martin Partners, Inc.

DWP Headquarters – John Ferraro Building Image Gallery
About AC Martin Partners, Inc.

Founded by A. C. Martin, Sr. in 1906, the architecture firm of Albert C. Martin & Associates (now A.C. Martin Partners) was responsible for the design of many prominent buildings in the Los Angeles region and became one of the major local architecture firms practicing in the city early in the postwar era.

In 1946, the firm changed its name to Albert C. Martin & Associates to reflect the growing roles of A. C. Martin’s sons, Albert C., Jr. and J. Edward, in the firm’s work. As A. C. Martin’s role lessened, the son’s led the firm during the postwar era’s explosive growth. The firm designed numerous buildings, representing several distinct building types throughout the Los Angeles region.

  1. Text extracts from the Los Angeles Department of City Planning
    Recommendation Report to the Cultural Heritage Commission
  2. Images source from the article DWP´s General Office Building, waterandpower.org
Cite this article: "Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s John Ferraro Building / A.C. Martin Partners" in ArchEyes, October 11, 2020, https://archeyes.com/los-angeles-department-of-water-and-powers-john-ferraro-building-a-c-martin-partners/.