The Desmond received an Excellence in Structural Engineering Award from the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations. A renovation and adaptive reuse project in downtown Los Angeles, the building was recognized in the category for Forensic/Renovation/Retrofit/Rehabilitation Structures up to $20 Million. The annual awards program calls attention to examples of ingenuity in structural engineering throughout the world. This year, winning projects were named in seven categories.
The recognized project involved the renovation and adaptive reuse of a vacant historic warehouse in the South Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. In designing The Desmond, SOM was guided by the principle of minimal intervention. Originally designed in 1916 as an automobile showroom, the building has been transformed into a modern, creative office space that honors the integrity of the original architecture.
The project included major upgrades to the building's structure to comply with seismic and lateral loading codes. A new concrete frame was inserted at the perimeter of the building, while construction of a new sixth floor was made as lightweight as possible. Steel windows were refurbished and reglazed with high-performance glass to reduce energy use. A new ground-level storefront system provides transparency and connects the building with the surrounding streetscape.