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Home Savings Tower

January 21, 1990

Sam Hall Kaplan's column, "Closing a Decade of Design, Some Hits and Misses" (Dec. 31), strikes me as shallow and confused. I agree with Mr. Kaplan that the last decade has seen a rising design consciousness, but I feel that the '80s saw a new richness and variety, not a worsening, in the built environment.

As design partner at Albert C. Martin & Associates, the architectural firm that designed the new Home Savings Tower, I disagree with Mr. Kaplan's brief appraisal. However, what I find much more disturbing than a negative remark about our firm's work is Mr. Kaplan's glib and shorthand approach to 10 very important years in Los Angeles' architectural development.

As architects, we are challenged to design each project by focusing on several factors including site, neighborhood, function, and budget. In the case of the Home Savings Tower we were pleased to read that we may not be the worst but were surprised to be accused of being "silly."

The Home Savings Tower was designed as a careful response to adjoining historical buildings, the historic 7th Street corridor and our client's needs. Because the new Home Savings building is a tower, it was designed employing a loosely interpreted 16th-Century French Renaissance style. Any building that introduces a new style to the urban fabric is bound to be controversial.

The Home Savings Tower, which integrates a Metro Rail station, a large above-ground parking garage and a substantial public art program, tries to be a good new neighbor, not a silly one.

The "best and the worst" seem to have more to do with one man's whim than a critical approach to evaluating new buildings in Los Angeles.

DAVID C. MARTIN

Los Angeles

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