Herald Examiner Building Restoration & ASU Build-Out


Downtown Los Angeles


The Georgetown Company & Arizona State University



Project Size

135,950 SF


2021 | SCDF Design Award, Adaptive Reuse | Renovation | Historic Preservation

Originally designed by Julia Morgan, architect to William Randolph Hearst, this historic building has stood in downtown LA since 1914 as the headquarters for the Herald Examiner newspaper, and became a cultural monument in 1977. MATT’s team undertook a two-phase project­— shell and core fit-out along with seismic retrofitting to adapt and upgrade the structure, and extensive tenant improvement construction.

The adaptive reuse space holds mixed-use offices, restaurants, retail, and a satellite campus of Arizona State University’s School of Journalism. Construction entailed an exterior renovation, the addition of elevators, restroom facilities, new entrances, shear walls, fire and life safety upgrades and a new LADWP yard, alongside a full tenant build-out for ASU which included classrooms, labs, lecture halls, catering kitchen, offices, media and editing rooms, and a flexible event space.

Historic restoration was a high priority. The lobby’s original tiles hail from Italy, with large windows, railings, columns and cherubs adding the grandeur of a cathedral to the space. All the millwork and chandeliers in the historic lobby were restored to their original condition by casting individual parts from molds of the originals. Restoring and replacing elaborate woodwork, base, moldings and other details throughout the building provided additional opportunity to maintain the character of the original building. Over 80% of the refurbished space is dedicated to ASU’s facilities, including classrooms, a double-height event space and a raised third-floor with conference rooms, a work cafe and a staff area set beneath refurbished skylights.

The existing building’s layout and tight urban location made it challenging to deliver and haul materials. Prefabricated components and breaking equipment into smaller pieces and assembling inside the structure mitigated limited laydown and storage area.