Compton City Hall Goes Green

Time was running outThe City of Compton had received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to replace windows at City Hall to improve energy efficiency.  Work had to be completed by December 31st, 2012, but as of August not a single window had been replaced. 

The San Francisco office of Chattel was brought on to the project team to evaluate whether or not the building was a historic property for purposes of Section 106 Review.  Although Compton City Hall is just 35 years old, Chattel ultimately concluded the building is eligible for listing in the National Register as the finest building designed by prominent African American architect, Harold L. Williams, FAIA.  

Robert Delgadillo, Interim Planning Director for the City of Compton reports, "Chattel,  Inc. was invaluable in assisting the City of Compton in obtaining Section 106 approval for our City Hall re-glazing project by closely working with the California State Historic Preservation Officer and the Department of Energy.  The Compton City Hall now has energy efficient glazing reducing our heating and cooling costs while still preserving the building's original appearance."

Work gets underway at City Hall
Harold L. Williams was mentored by Paul R. Williams (no relation), arguably the most famous African American architect in Los Angeles.  Harold was a successful architect in his own right and civic leader in Los Angeles.  Harold's design of Compton City Hall represented his desire to give something back to the African American community.  When Compton City Hall opened its doors to the public on February 19, 1977, it symbolized a new era for Compton, a city that went from being almost exclusively white before World War II to majority African American by the 1970s.

Because Chattel SF determined the building was historic, window replacement had to be done in a way that would not significantly alter its appearance.  A number of different glass types were evaluated before coming up with a solution of using a glass panel with a low-E coating manufactured by Pilkington North America Inc.  Replacement panels were the same thickness and color as existing glass and could be installed in old window frames, making the change almost imperceptible.
Several glass samples were compared to the original before final selection
The final hurdle was to get an approval from SHPO in time to actually replace the windows before the grant money expired at the end of the year.  With only two months left in 2012, Chattel was able to get SHPO to accept findings that the building was historic despite being less than 50 years old and approve the window replacement.  

As soon as City officials received the go ahead to start work in November, Rainbow Glazing worked tirelessly to finish the project by the deadline.  Workers replaced 40 to 50 panels a day, completing the work early on December 14, 2012.

Old window panels were removed and the frames were retained

Rainbow Glazing worked tirelessly, completing the work before deadline
Part of Chattel’s success is our good working relationship with state and federal agencies.  These relationships allow us to ask for quick project review when necessary because agencies recognize the quality and integrity of our work.  While working for the City of Compton, Chattel navigated through the channels of the U.S. Department of Energy with help from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and SHPO to get our clients’ project done in a nearly impossible timeframe!