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03l Southern California CalTrans Headquarters (E) | by Kansas Sebastian
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03l Southern California CalTrans Headquarters (E)

CalTrans Headquarters District 7 Building

Thom Mayne, Morphosis

100 South Main Street



The 13-story, horizontally skewed CalTrans headquarters generated plenty of debate when it opened in 2004. Designed by Thom Mayne [founder of Morphosis], the pproject has been praised by some ffor its sleek, modern look and compared to a file cabinet or the Star Wars "Death Srar" by others.


When it comes to environmental credibility, however, the reviews are all positive.


Developed by [Los Angeles] Downtown-based Urban Partners, the CalTrans edifice features windows that allow light in but not heat, to help regulate interior temperatures without overusing air conditioning and heating systems. Th buildings Southern-facing facade is covered with photovoltaic panels which collect solar energy for a green power source. The building is encased in a high-performance "skin" that mitigates heat gain dring the day in order to put less pressure on the mechanical systems. "Skip-stop" elevatores stop only on every third floor, to save energy and encourage a more healthful workplace by forcing workers to use the stairs. (Another elevator for those who cannot navigate stairs is available.)


Green Giants: What Makes Some Big Downtown Buildigs Eco Friendly

By Anna Scott and Ryan Vaillancourt, Downtown News Staf Writers

Los Angeles Downtown News:



Thom Mayne, with Michael Rotondi, founded Morphosis in 1972 to develop an architecture that would eschew the normal bounds of traditional forms. Beginning as an informal collaboration of designers that survived on non-architectural projects, its first official commission was a school in Pasadena, attended by Mayne's son. Publicity resulting from the publication of this project led to a number of residential commissions, including the Lawrence Residence.


Since then, Morphosis has grown into prominent design practice, with completed projects worldwide. Under the Design Excellence program of the United States government's General Service Administration, Thom Mayne has become a primary architect for federal projects. Recent commissions include: graduate housing at the University of Toronto; the San Francisco Federal Building; the University of Cincinnati Student Recreation Center; the Science Center School in Los Angeles, Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, California; and the Wayne L. Morse United States Courthouse in Eugene, Oregon.



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Taken on April 20, 2009