Director of Design, DMJM Keating
Specialty: High-rise office buildings
Notable project: Gas Co. Tower
When Richard Keating was a graduate student at UC Berkeley, he thought it would be interesting to write his doctoral thesis on high-rise buildings in architectural history.
His research brought him to the noted Chicago architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 1968, where he fell in love with the work of designing tall buildings. After being hired on, he spent the next 22 years with the firm, opening its Houston office in the ’70s.
When the recession hit, he closed SOM’s Houston office and opened one in Los Angeles, which at the time was still booming. After four years, Keating formed Keating Mann Jernigan Rotter, then sold the firm to Daniel Mann Johnson & Mendenhall, forming DMJM Keating.
Keating designed the 55-story Gas Co. Tower in downtown L.A., the American Honda building in Torrance, and two Beverly Hills office buildings for now-defunct Columbia Savings & Loan.
One of Keating’s most intriguing designs was the bulletproof vault he designed for the executive bathroom of Thomas Spiegel, then head of Columbia Savings.
Keating’s recent projects include the terminals at the Ontario and Fresno airports and state office buildings in Oakland and San Bernardino. His recent renovations include 10960 Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood and the 707 Wilshire Tower in downtown L.A.
Two of his prominent designs were never built: Michael McCarty’s proposed Santa Monica Beach Hotel, which was defeated in a city referendum, and Grand Avenue Plaza, a proposed downtown high-rise that a Japanese developer never built.
Revealing the secrets to his success, Keating says, “SOM was kind of my graduate school. That, and the good fortune of being in Texas at the right time and having a good core group of devoted people whom I dragged with me from Texas to California.”