One of the first buildings to champion the use of computer-aided design (CAD), the Great Western Savings building also maximized floor space with its eye-catching oval shape.
The oval shape of the Great Western Savings building was a revolutionary change from the typical boxy, straight-edged high-rise fold along Wilshire Boulevard. It was one of the first buildings created with the computer aided design (CAD) that would change the shape of architecture in the late twentieth century and used an eccentric parabolic shape to address some of the concerns of high rise building owners.
Floor layouts are one of the major design challenges of the high rise office building. There must be a core of elevators, mechanical equipment, stairs, and restrooms at each level and a large section of floor space cannot be leased as office space. By shaping the building as an oval, architect William Pereira created an interior core surrounded by a large, oblong donut-shape of usable office space, maximizing the amount of the floor that could be leased. The building is clad in LHR solarbronze reflecting glass, a nod to an emerging consciousness of the need for buildings to be energy efficient.
The building has a few show business connections. The site was originally a miniature golf course owned by silent screen star Mary Pickford in the 1930s. John Wayne was the Great Western Savings television spokesman. The company installed a statue of the actor on horseback upon his death in 1979. In 1984, Great Western Savings sold the building to adult-content magazine publisher Larry Flynt.