In this book, architect David Martin reflects on and illustrates his visits to the ancient and colonial-era places of Mexico. In Baja and on the mainland, Martin immersed himself in a millennia-old culture that has transformed over the centuries yet maintained an outsized and magical exuberance. Martin is best known for designing iconic buildings that define the Los Angeles skyline, including the soaring and elegant Figueroa at Wilshire (formerly Sanwa Bank Plaza) and the tallest building west of the Mississippi, the witty and curvaceous Wilshire Grand Center. A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, he represents the third generation of architects to join his family’s century-!old business, AC Martin. Historian Kevin Starr has lauded the firm’s “prophetic” work, as it built its own success and a new urban identity, as well as contributed to the sense of dynamic optimism suffusing the region. Today many of the firm’s works have been designated historic-cultural monuments.These include some of Los Angeles’s most significant civic and academic buildings, churches, corporate headquarters, museums, science laboratories, homes, and residential neighborhoods. Still towering over them all, visually and conceptually, is City Hall, which Martin’s grandfather collaborated on, finishing it in 1928. It’s a building “that to this day symbolizes the identity and drama of the city,” according to Starr. David Martin has produced most of his work in Southern California. No one can live in or visit Los Angeles without experiencing the myriad decisions he has made as AC Martin’s design principal―choices about the forms of the buildings as well as their size, materials, public access, interior fittings, and much more. His structures, along with the influence he and his family’s firm have had on
Los Angeles’s development as a pedestrian city, define friendly sequences of plazas so filled with bright flowers and art that the buildings themselves become a form of public art. The interaction of public and private space is a theme that runs through Martin’s work, whether it is a glass fronted police station that connects visually with its community, a church suffused with a numinous glow, or a skyscraper offering majestic views. With each project, he has sought to engage and delight those who use the building―for work, living, study, or prayer. His efforts are widely recognized, and he has received numerous major architecture awards over the years.