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Registrar Recorder County Clerk Elections Operations Center |
Notes of Interest

This project is about housing and honoring the infrastructure of democracy. The architect strove to literally and figuratively draw out this critical cultural and political meaning from a very lean quantitative program brief in a very tight span of time. Finally, it was due to collaboration and highly creative thinking that an uplifting, vibrant and deserving atmosphere was provided to the “enablers of democracy” who work in this space.

Registrar Recorder County Clerk Elections Operations Center is a 110,000-square-foot office and warehouse facility that organizes, distributes, collects and processes all of the voting materials of Los Angeles’ 5000 voting precincts for every election. The facility is housed in an existing tilt-up concrete warehouse, a structure of overwhelming size that houses all worker office space, voting pallet storage, digital voting units and personal records.

Challenges abounded for the creation of this marvel. The facility had to be completed in time for the preparation of voting material for the election in November 2007. Given the election cycles, there was no flexibility in schedule. On top of this, the initial plan presented to the architect was far over budget and low in the desire for aggressive architectural action. The final, and possibly greatest, challenge was the drabness and daunting scale of the existing structure. Somehow the team had to reprogram and redesign the proposed plan to create an efficient, streamlined work place…and fast.

This fast-track approach made the collaborative process between the client, architect and consultant team critical. Through the process of value-engineering, the design for the facility became efficient and economic.

Designed and built-out in approximately 11 months, the project was brought in—all amenities included—under budget and on schedule. A robust palette of design tools were used to create a place of economy, utility and delight. The architect envisioned large-scale mega-banners that could achieve significant architectural impact. This new technology affordably provides scale and intimacy to this huge warehouse. In a matter of creative funding, the architect/owner team worked with the County Arts Program to commission a local artist. Color was used strategically on vertical and horizontal surfaces with paint and fabric, as well as through mega-banner technology. This use of color and imagery energizes the entire warehouse.

It was the intimate collaboration of architect, owner, user, builder and artist that allowed the success this project achieves. The result is a place of utility and delight, honoring an important institution of democracy as well as the citizens of Los Angeles County.

Additional Credits

  • Photo Credit: © Michael B. Lehrer

Registrar Recorder County Clerk Elections Operations Center

  • Architect: Lehrer Architects
  • Owner: Los Angeles County; Naomi Martin
  • Location: Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

Jury Comments

Graphic strength at its best— this design dramatically transforms a mundane warehouse into an energetic, highly functional, and aesthetically pleasing place of work.

Working with a modest budget and minimal means, the designer turned this space into a celebration through a skillful use of color, scale and graphics. The collaborative effort between the architect, client and artist is very successful and commendable.

2011 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture Jury

  • John Ronan, AIA, (Chair)
  • John Ronan Architects
  • Chicago
  • Jaime Canaves, FAIA
  • Florida International University-
  • School of Architecture
  • Miami
  • Margaret Kittinger, AIA
  • Beyer Blinder Belle Architects
  • New York City
  • Brian Lewis
  • The Capital Group Companies
  • Irvine, Calif.
  • Brian Malarkey, AIA
  • Kirksey
  • Houston

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