Albert C. Martin Jr.

Title: Partner emeritus

Born: Los Angeles, 1913

Education: Bachelor of Architecture, USC

Career Turning Point: Construction of Arco Plaza

Most Admired Person: His father

Personal: Married, five children

J. Edward Martin

Born: Los Angeles, 1916

Education: B.S. in Architectural Engineering, University of Illinois

Career Turning Point: When his father chose his career for him

When it comes to shaping Los Angeles, few architectural firms have had as much of an impact as AC Martin Partners.

Since 1906, when A.C. Martin founded the firm, three generations of Martins have been at the forefront of shaping the city's architectural legacy. From downtown's Million Dollar Theatre on Broadway (1918), to the May Company department store on the Miracle Mile (1940), to Arco Plaza in downtown's financial core (1972), AC Martin Partners has changed the face of Los Angeles.

Brothers Albert C. Martin, Jr., 84, and J. Edward Martin, 81, constituted the firm's second generation, and quite possibly its most important. The two sons of founder A.C. Martin were partners for 60 years, and stood at the helm of the architectural firm for much of the post-World War II building boom.

While Albert was leading the design side of projects, Edward focused on the engineering side, becoming an expert in making buildings earthquake-resistant.

Now retired, Albert and Edward stand on the sidelines as their own sons, David Martin and Christopher Martin, respectively, lead the firm. They have kept the firm in the family because, as Edward put it, "the best place to get great architects is to breed them."

For the first time in their professional careers, the two brothers will appear together publicly at the Los Angeles Central Library on March 22, when they address the local chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.

Question: If you had one day to take an architectural tour of L.A., which buildings would you visit?

Edward: Our most recent building, the Sanwa Bank building, built in 1988-90, is an outstanding building that expresses current technology, current art and architecture. David Martin (Albert's son) is the partner responsible for that design. Everything about it is up to date.

Albert: My mind goes to what's the most exciting environment that I might find. California Plaza is an exciting environment. It's improving, also, because it is becoming a center for cultural arts. The Museum of Contemporary Art, the Music Center, Disney Hall will be there, and the cathedral as well. I think it's one of the most exciting environments that we have. There is no question that Arco Plaza created a place that is important in the city.

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