Herald Examiner building

Learning Transformation Studios Accepts Prestigious Architectural Prize on Behalf of ASU for the Restoration of a Historic LA Landmark


It was 1913 when William Randolph Hearst commissioned architect Julia Morgan to build the headquarters of his 6th newspaper, the Los Angeles Examiner. Always one to think big, Hearst wanted it to be the country's best-equipped and largest newsroom. He picked the right architect.

Morgan, the first licensed female architect in California, would go on to design more than 700 buildings in the state, including the famous Hearst Castle. After the paper shut down in 1989, it fell into disrepair and was in danger of being lost to time.

Enter Arizona State University and President Crow's commitment to building the New American University accessible to all learners across the Southwest.

ASU selected the historic Herald Examiner building as the home for its California Center. But to create a space that nurtures inclusion, facilitates learning, and encourages innovation, the university had to restore the property while ensuring its legendary design work was preserved.

For those successful efforts, the Los Angeles Business Council awarded ASU its Grand Prize at the 53rd Annual Architectural Awards on November 16, 2023.

Alan Arkatov, Executive Director of the ASU Learning Transformation Studios and Senior Advisor to ASU President Michael Crow, accepted the award on behalf of the university.

In his remarks, Arkatov explained how projects like the restoration of the Herald Examiner Building demonstrate ASU's commitment to building an institution of learning accessible to all.

"There's no single pathway to knowledge, and, therefore, we must have the infrastructure to serve every student and every family, no matter their background or journey," said Arkatov.

"It's only through human-centric design and construction that we can create spaces that nurture inclusion, facilitate learning, and encourage innovation," he added.

The $40 million restoration project turned the five-level, nearly 86,000-square-foot structure into a hub for students and faculty and a location for numerous events and convenings. As part of the restoration, the building's historic lobby, with its ornate design, was restored to its former glory and welcomes visitors to the site.

"The building not only showcases the city's historic past, dating back over a century, but also combines tradition with innovation to promote intellectual, cultural, and economic vibrancy in the downtown area," said ASU President Michael M. Crow.

The building is now called the ASU California Center Broadway, which was recently joined by the ASU California Center Grand, home to ASU's Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), a renowned fashion and merchandising school.

The restored building has received numerous accolades, including the Chair's Award from the Los Angeles Conservancy as part of its 2021 Preservation Awards.