Leo Marmol, FAIA, and Ron Radziner, FAIA, cut their teeth restoring the iconic work of Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra. And their firm’s Los Angeles headquarters—a 17,000-square-foot former aircraft parts factory built shortly after World War II—is something of an icon itself. A flat-roofed volume fronting an industrial shed spanned by 80-foot bowstring trusses, the structure follows a popular design of the postwar era, Radziner says, calling it “a beautiful and sought-after building type in Southern California.”
When the partners set up shop here in 2002, the building’s character was obscured by linoleum tile and dropped ceilings. By exposing the arched roof and replicating the original steel-framed windows, “We brought it back much more closely to what it originally was,” Radziner says. The firm, which provides design/build services on many of its projects, maintains 25,000 square feet of shop space on a separate site and a satellite office in San Francisco. But most of its architectural staff—some 80 people—share this airy, voluminous space. “I like that the younger people can overhear conversations the senior people have with consultants and clients,” says Radziner, who notes that all the work surfaces were set deliberately at drafting-table height. “That gives you the option of standing when you work … [and] it puts you at the level of someone walking by,” which supports the office’s interactive, collaborative culture. “There’s always the hum of voices,” he says.