Overview

The first high-rise in Los Angeles was the Braly building. At just 13 stories and 151 feet, it kicked off Southern California’s race to the sky. New towers are grazing downtown L.A.’s skyline at 1,000 feet. Not all of the city’s big builds are going vertical. Multi-billion dollar stadiums and entertainment districts are currently underway. The reputable architects behind the biggest and most expensive of those projects are ranked below.
Architects
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City
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Projects
21

Top Architects

10
CO Architects

Architects:
Scott P. Kelsey, FAIA

Awards:
AIA California Council Firm of the Year, ENR California Best Education Project Awards, Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Awards

Address:
5055 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles CA 90036

Contact:
(323) 525-0500 |
inquiries@coarchitects.com

About CO Architects

CO Architects is a nationally and internationally recognized design firm with over 30 years of experience designing for higher education, healthcare, and technology clients. One of ENR California’s Top Design Firms, the firm’s work has earned awards across multiple sectors. The AIA California Council named CO Architects its 2014 Firm of the Year—one of the most highly regarded awards in architecture.

In 1986, Jack MacAllister and David Rinehart founded Anshen + Allen’s regional LA office. Carving out its own niche in the industry, the office became an autonomous firm in 2005 and was rechristened CO Architects. The prefix “co-” emphasizes the firm’s collaborative approach to design, within the company and in working with clients. CO Architects’ emphasis on sustainable practices and use of technological advancements in Building Information Modeling (BIM) set them apart from competitors from the start, earning recognition from The Chicago Athenaeum, the national AIA, and World Architecture News.

Featured Projects

CO Architects was chosen to design the East Building for leading research facility, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla. The two-story structure houses diverse laboratory spaces, a 23,000 square-foot conference center, a large-scale lobby, and an auditorium with seating for 300. The firm also drew the plans for the first new building under the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Campus Master Plan in West Los Angeles. The design for the $110M Life Sciences Building project aimed at establishing the aesthetic for future buildings and utilizing cutting-edge technology. The main building houses 35 teaching labs, informal study spaces, and 40 offices, dressed in exposed concrete. A green roof provides drought-resistant vegetation in ipe-wood containers, and stormwater collection for lab sampling and study, while a grass walkway takes students up to the top of the 230-seat auditorium. The exterior of the building undulates with alternating panels of concrete, metal, and glazing finishes.

9
MVE + Partners Inc.

Architects:
Carl McLarand, AIA, NCARB

Awards:
AIA Design Merit Award

Address:
888 S Figueroa St Suite 2170 Los Angeles CA

Contact:
(949) 809-3388 |
info@mve-architects.com

About MVE + Partners Inc.

With over $30M in regional revenue, MVE+Partners is an ENR California Top Design Firm. The company, which offers not only architecture and planning services, but also graphic design, has completed projects across the U.S., and in China, Egypt, and the U.A.E. In Los Angeles, MVE+Partners had an ENR California 2016 Top Start with the $305M Spring Street Towers development, and earned a 2016 AIA Merit Award for their design for the mixed-use Emerald complex.

Founder and Chairman Carl McLarand established MVE+Partners in Orange County in 1974. At the outset, the firm focused on residential projects, but that business has expanded to large-scale commercial and civic developments. The company now has more than 100 employees working out of offices in Los Angeles and Irvine. The firm has garnered more than 300 Gold Nugget Merit and Grand Awards over the last 40-plus years.

Featured Projects

The MVE+Partners-designed residential tower at 8500 Burton Way rises eight stories and contains 87 luxury units. Originally designed as a boxy structure, the building now resembles the prow of a ship, with an interior open-air courtyard exposed to daylight by a roof aperture and a cutaway in the upper floors. The $65M development is capturing some of the highest rents in Los Angeles, with a penthouse on the market for $40,000 per month. MVE+Partners designed two mixed-use high-rises — 732 and 755 S. Spring Street — that draw on the aesthetics of the neighborhoods they border. 755 S. Spring Street draws on the classic 1920s elements of the financial buildings in the Historic Core, while 732 S. Spring Street takes more heavily from the Fashion District, with its contemporary weave pattern and floor-to-ceiling window wall facade system. Combined, the towers will offer 628 residential units, including unique, townhome style units.

8
A.C. Martin Partners

Architects:
Christopher C. Martin, FAIA

Awards:
AIA Design Merit Award, California Preservation Design Award

Address:
444 S Flower St Suite 1200 Los Angeles CA 90071

Contact:
(213) 683-1900 |
info@acmartin.com

About A.C. Martin Partners

A.C. Martin Partners has left a significant mark on southern California, with civic projects like Los Angeles City Hall and the Ventura County Courthouse, and commercial builds, such as City National Plaza, Citigroup Plaza, and the Million Dollar Theater. A.C. Martin Partners also designed such L.A. cultural institutions as St. Vincent’s Catholic Church.

Albert C. Martin, Sr. established his firm in Los Angeles in 1906. Since the company’s beginning, L.A.’s population has grown from 100K to 13M, and A.C. Martin Partners has evolved with the city’s changing needs for infrastructure, housing, and commerce. The firm now thrives under Christopher C. Martin, FAIA, the third-generation CEO and Chairman. The firm’s contract for Phase 2 of the 1120 South Grand Avenue, South Park development was an ENR California Top Start, with a value of $375M.

Featured Projects

With a pricetag of over $1B, The Wilshire Grand Center is the tallest building West of the Mississippi. The tower rises 1,100 feet above the site of the 1952 Wilshire Grand Hotel, including a 294-foot spire that sits atop the mixed-use high-rise. Advanced lighting systems and cutting-edge climate control technology reduce the building’s energy consumption. The iconic high-rise earned the 2014 American Architecture Award from Chicago Athenaeum and a 2013 Award of Excellence from the Los Angeles Business Council. A.C. Martin drew the designs for the Hall of Justice Repair and Reuse project. The 1925 building closed in 1994 due to damage from the Northridge earthquake. The team refurbished granite and marble surfaces, restored a courtroom and library, gutting the rest of the building. The successful preservation garnered LEED Gold status, the 2015 Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Historic Preservation from the California Preservation Foundation, and the Design-Build Institute of America 2015 National Design-Build Project/Team Award.

7
Perkins+Will

Architects:
Eric Aukee, FAIA, LEED AP

Awards:
National Planning Excellence Award, Society for College and University Planning Award for Excellence in Architecture

Address:
617 W 7th St Suite 1200 Los Angeles CA 90017

Contact:
(213) 270-8400

About Perkins+Will

Perkins+Will is an interdisciplinary firm that leverages research from its proprietary laboratories to design progressive and efficient plans. Founded in 1935, Perkins+Will began as a small Chicago office run by partners Lawrence B. Perkins and Philip Will, Jr. The firm annually earns hundreds of design awards, and it is an ENR California Top Design Firm, as well as #1 in Higher Education Design, according to Architectural Record.

The Los Angeles office has helmed projects across Southern California and the country, including the San Jose University Student Union and the Johns Hopkins Hospital Children’s Tower, contributing to the firm’s portfolio of nearly 1,000 LEED Certified builds. They are consistently ranked as one of L.A.’s top five design firms, and received the 2015 National Planning Excellence Award.

Featured Projects

A fixture on the UCLA campus, the Charles E. Young Research Library, built in the 1960s, was in need of renovation and modernization. Perkins + Will redesigned the first floor and A level. Adjustments to the public areas created a more flexible space with better circulation and room for technology access and socializing, while still making room for the library’s expanded offerings. When Perkins + Will redesigned the LAPD Rampart Station, the architects made careful choices to respect the original 1966 architecture, while still giving it a new image and modern workability. The two-story bunker is now the LAPD Metropolitan Division Facility. The $16M redesign carves into the building exterior to bring daylight into high-traffic areas. With help from its photovoltaic canopy, the building was certified LEED platinum and won the 2017 City of L.A. Green Building Award from the Los Angeles Business Council. The design earned a 2016 Merit Award from AIA Los Angeles, and a Citation Award from AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice.

6
SmithGroupJJR

Architects:
Mike Medici, AIA, NCARB

Awards:
AIA Institutional Architecture Award of Merit, Chicago Athenaeum Green GOOD DESIGN Award awards

Address:
550 S Hope St Suite 1950 Los Angeles CA 90071

Contact:
(213) 228-6900 |
contact@smithgroupjjr.com

About SmithGroupJJR

Architect Magazine ranked SmithGroupJJR among the top 15 in 2016, and it ranked among ENR California top 20 Design Firms in the same year. Based on revenue, SmithGroupJJR ranks on the 2017 ENR list of Top 75 Design Firms in the country and #6 on the Building Design + Construction ranking of largest firms in the U.S. Among their many notable projects is the multi-award winning National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Their southern California projects have garnered recognition from AIA and Los Angeles Business Council.

Architect Sheldon Smith founded SmithGroupJJR in Detroit, MI in 1853 and the company has been setting industry benchmarks ever since. In 1920, the firm designed their first skyscraper, the Buhl Building, a neo-gothic tower. In 2000, the firm designed the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Headquarters, the first LEED Platinum certified project in the world. The Los Angeles office has designed high profile developments, such as the Roy O. Disney building renovation and the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center Replacement.

Featured Projects

SmithGroupJJR designed a centralized facility for Cedars-Sinai’s four transplant programs, the Comprehensive Transplant Center in West Hollywood. The building flows in such a way that matches a transplant patient’s expected progress through treatment, minimizing travel and wait times. The design earned a Calibre Award in the Health and Wellness Category from the International Interior Design Association. SmithGroupJJR designed a new storage facility for a major production house. The Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Film Archive is designed with the highest standards of protective measures, as it is a central repository for invaluable assets. In order to satisfy fire safety codes without introducing a water-based system that could damage the film, SmithGroupJJR designed a “Russian doll” building. An interior box is insulated, watertight, and fitted with a waterless fire suppression system.

5
HMC Architects

Architects:
Pasqual Gutierrez, AIA

Awards:
#1 ENR California Healthcare and Education Design Firm

Address:
633 W 5th St 3rd Floor Los Angeles CA 90071

Contact:
(213) 542-8300

About HMC Architects

Over the last 75 years, HMC Architects has completed thousands of projects in civic architecture, healthcare, and education. Their 2016 regional revenue of $65.98M placed them among the ENR California Top Design Firms, and Architectural Record Top 200 Architecture Firms. The firm ranked #1 in ENR California Healthcare and Education Design Firm lists by market.

Jay Dewey Harnish founded the company in 1940 with partners Mel Morgan and Jack Causey joining in 1952 and 1955, respectively. What began as a small design office in Ontario, California, has grown into a 300-person firm with nine regional offices. The company has developed a reputation as a thought leader in healthcare design and civic planning. HMC Architects is also committed to community involvement, via disaster relief programs, scholarships, and volunteerism.

Featured Projects

HMC Architects will partner with Populous to lead the design team for the $350M renovation of the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC). It’s one of the largest convention centers in the country at 720,000 square feet. Plans for the renovation include joining the south and west structures with a canopy over Pico Boulevard and creating public park spaces for residents. The convention center will also feature an outdoor ballroom and flexible meeting spaces, positioning the LACC as the west coast convention destination. In South Los Angeles, HMC Architects has revived a neighborhood asset. The original Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital shuttered in 2007 and the firm leveraged a $285M budget to design an economical replacement that doesn’t cut corners on function and aesthetic. Patients and staff will appreciate that the new design allows for much more natural light to flood the hospital. Terrazzo floors and granite surfaces replace typical institutional finishes. The fresh design earned the Los Angeles Business Council’s Award for Excellence in the Healthcare Architecture Category.

4
HKS, Inc.

Architects:
Scott Hunter, FAIA, LEED AP

Awards:
Los Angeles Business Journal Commercial Real Estate Gold Award, DBIA National Award of Merit, AIA Citation Award

Address:
10880 Wilshire Blvd Suite 1850 Los Angeles CA 90024

Contact:
(310) 788-7700

About HKS, Inc.

The HKS, Inc. Los Angeles office had the ENR California Top Start of 2016, with the $2.6B Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park contract. That project came into consideration when BD World Architecture named the company #2 global sports design firm. The firm has also ranked among ENR Top Design Firms in California and nationally, with over $65M in regional revenue. In total, HKS, Inc. has accumulated over 650 design awards, including honors from AIA and Los Angeles Business Council.

Now led by Director Scott Hunter, the Los Angeles office opened in 1987 and is one of 24 offices globally. Building Design+Construction named it the third largest architectural firm in the country. Modern Healthcare has ranked the firm #1 in healthcare architecture revenue for 16 consecutive years.

Featured Projects

HKS Architects designed the Zev Yaroslavsky Family Support Center, a 216,000 square-foot multi-agency campus for L.A. County services. The taxpayer-funded building is visually pleasing, but not ostentatious, with an emphasis on stress-reducing elements. The ground level has space for around 1,000 daily caseworker appointments. The campus’ LEED NC Gold Features include a green wall, a below-floor air distribution system, and dedicated bicycle storage. The project earned the 2016 Best Project, Southern California – Government/Public Buildings from Engineering News Record California, and the Design-Build Institute of America 2016 National Award of Excellence for Commercial Office Buildings. In late 2016, construction began on HKS Architects’ plans for Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park. The nearly 3 million square-foot venue in Inglewood is set to open in 2019 and will serve as home for the L.A. Rams and will host Super Bowl LVI in 2022. Designs for the arena feature a curving roof of perforated metal and a transparent membrane that will always evoke an open-air setting.

3
Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM)

Architects:
Paul Danna, FAIA

Awards:
AIA Architecture Firm Awards, AIA 25-Year Awards, National Arts Club Gold Medal

Address:
333 S Grand Ave Suite 3600 Los Angeles CA

Contact:
(213) 327-2400 |
som.losangeles@som.com

About Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM)

After more than 80 years in operation, SOM has completed over ten thousand projects in 50 countries. Among those projects is the New Long Beach Civic Center, a $520M development that ranked among the top 10 ENR California Starts of 2016. In 2012, SOM launched a Los Angeles-based design studio to handle complex, international projects. The firm currently holds the distinctive honor of being the only one to have twice won Architecture Firm Award from the national AIA. They’ve also won the AIA 25-Year Award for a record number of six projects and became the first architecture firm to be awarded a National Arts Club Gold Medal.

Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings established their eponymous firm in 1936, with John O. Merrill joining three years later. In one major contribution, SOM created Architecture Engineering Systems, a 1980 predecessor of Business Information Modeling software now used throughout the design industry. The firm designed the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. In total, SOM has earned close to 2,000 awards, more than any other design firm.

Featured Projects

SOM’s design for a new United States Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles blends classic features of federal architecture with contemporary materials and engineering. Incorporating engineering features to protect against seismic events and blast threats, the structure is comprised of a 630,000 square-foot cube that appears to float, but rests on a limestone pedestal. The building won the Los Angeles Business Council 2017 Grand Prize and Civic Buildings Awards and Project of the Year from the Design-Build Institute of America, Western Pacific Region chapter. The Desmond is an 88,000 square foot brick building, originally intended to be a five-story automobile showroom, and later used as a Desmond’s department store warehouse. The design added a sixth floor glass pavilion with a terrace deck, and managed to accommodate the additional load and new seismic codes without significant changes to the building’s facade, earning the project the 2017 Award of Merit: Retrofit/Alteration from the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California and Northern California.

2
Gensler

Architects:
M. Arthur Gensler Jr., FAIA, FIIDA, RIBA, and Douglas C. Gensler, AIA, NCARB

Awards:
Center for Active Design Excellence Award, AIA Institute Honor Award for Architecture, AIA Associate Award

Address:
500 S Figueroa St Los Angeles CA 90071

Contact:
(213) 327-3600 |
info@gensler.com

About Gensler

A global design firm with over 5,000 employees, ENR has named Gensler a #1 Global Design Firm in the Architecture sector, and Architectural Record has ranked them #1 among the top 300 architecture firms. The firm has designed notable structures around the world, including Shanghai Tower, and their 2016 worldwide revenue surpassed $1B.

Art and Drue Gensler, with partner James Follett, founded the firm in San Francisco in 1965. In 1976, Gensler put down roots in Los Angeles and growth boomed. The company’s original focus on corporate interiors has evolved over the last 50 years to include large-scale commercial developments, civic projects, and entertainment facilities. Their client roster now includes 40 Fortune 500 companies, including the top 10 U.S. technology companies to make the list. In 2016, their Century Plaza interior redevelopment contract was ENR California #2 Start. In the same year, the Design Futures Council awarded founder Art Gensler for a Lifetime of Achievement in architecture.

Featured Projects

Gensler’s design for the $400M building at 2000 Avenue of the Stars nods at the iconic Century Plaza Towers, while forging its own place in the image of Los Angeles. The mixed-use structure in Century City contains cafês and restaurants, retail shops, and 750,000 square feet of office space, alongside Centerpiece Park. The redesign of the original 30-year-old facility is one of the most sustainable structures in Los Angeles. The $1B Metropolis development called for a series of mixed-use towers in downtown L.A. The first phase of the project consists of three luxury residential towers and a boutique hotel, with one more residential tower to follow. The final residential tower is the tallest west of the Mississippi. The project at 1600 S Figueroa will rise 52 stories above downtown and sits at the southern boundary of the neighborhood and is appropriately designed to resemble a gateway. At the 19th floor, the building diverges into two prongs separated by a vertical opening, each housing residential units. The towers meet again at adjoining terrace decks at the top few stories of the building.

1
AECOM

Architects:
Frederick W. Werner, DBIA, ASCE

Awards:
DBIA National Award of Merit, AIA Los Angeles Merit Award, ENR #1 Global Design Firm

Address:
1999 Avenue of the Stars #2600 Los Angeles CA 90067

Contact:
(213) 593-8100 |
info@aecom.com

About AECOM

AECOM is an international firm that offers design services, as well as engineering, consulting, and construction. An ENR #1 Global Design Firm, the company has over 80,000 employees and operates in more than 150 countries. The Fortune 500 company pulled in over $17B of revenue in 2016, and the Los Angeles office is their worldwide headquarters.

Ashland Oil & Refining Company was a successful operation for decades before Warren Brothers acquired the company in 1966 and expanded into construction and construction materials. Since its founding, AECOM has designed a slew of iconic projects worldwide, including the venues for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the Etihad towers in Abu Dhabi, and the Halley VI Research Station in Antarctica. The Los Angeles design studio has garnered recognition from the Spark Design & Architecture Awards, AIA Los Angeles, and Environmental Business Journal (EBJ).

Featured Projects

AECOM designed the award-winning Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Headquarters. The design incorporates security features in such a way that it connects the structure physically and figuratively to the community. The required setbacks from the street made room for a plaza, which features a public art program to draw pedestrians through the space. The design won numerous awards, including the Architectural Foundation of Los Angeles 2010 Design Green Merit Award. The building is LEED Gold certified, due to its use of recycled content building materials, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, and other ecologically-friendly design choices. The Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach sits on six acres and currently houses 31 courtrooms. The building earned Excellence in Design and the Civic Buildings, National Award of Merit from Design-Build Institute of America, and Best Project, Government/Public Buildings, from ENR California, 2014. Los Angeles World Airports tapped AECOM to lead the extensive modernization of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The modernization will take place in phases while the airport is still operational and will include relocation of the South runway, the expansion of Bradley International Terminal, and a renovated arrival plaza with more light and space for weary travelers.

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