Albert C. Martin, Jr. of the AC Martin Partners architectural firm died last week at the age of 92 in San Luis Obispo. Martin, and his father before him, are responsible for some of Los Angeles' most recognizable buildings.
Among the Los Angeles landmarks designed by the senior Martin early in the 20th century are the Million Dollar Theatre, the St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church and the May Co. department store on Wilshire Boulevard. The senior Martin also collaborated with John C. Austin, John and Donald Parkinson and Austin Whittlesey, in the design of Los Angeles City Hall.
A.C. Martin, Jr. and his brother Edward continued their father's tradition with their signature building, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Building on Hope Street. Our favorite A.C. Martin story came up during some research we did on the 1100 Wilshire building (pictured above). The developer of the building, Tsai Ming Yu, a Japanese citizen of Chinese ancestry, came to A.C. Martin Partners with the rough designs for the building sketched out on paper. The architects balked at the odd design at first, but followed the feng-shui laden designs after Tsai refused to alter his plans for a more traditional style office building. For years afterward, the company was so embarassed about having designed the building that they refused to be listed as architect-of-record. Now of course, it's being converted into luxury condominiums.
· Noted architect dies in SLO; Albert C. Martin Jr.'s firm had 'profound impact on Los Angeles skyline' [LA Times via SLO Tribune]