Before its starring role as Nakatomi Plaza in the Bruce Willis smash hit "Die Hard," Fox Plaza was better known as one of the most architecturally appealing buildings to rise in the city during the 1980s.
Fox Plaza on Los Angeles’ Avenue of the Stars is one of those buildings that looks more familiar than it should—where have you seen this thirty-four-story office building, headquarters of 20th Century Fox, before? It played the part of the fictitious Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard, the first and by most accounts best of the Die Hard series, and served as a location for numerous other Fox films. Before it hosted Bruce Willis’ tour de force, however, Fox Plaza was acclaimed as one of the most architecturally appealing buildings to rise in the city during the 1980s.
Completed in 1986, the skyscraper was designed by Johnson Fain Architects, the firm that came to be after the death of legendary architect William Pereira (who participated in Fox Plaza’s design). Architects Scott Johnson and Bill Fain aimed for a contemporary Moderne feel in the Late Modern building, focusing on creating complex exterior facets that would break up the tower’s façade and create multiple planes to reflect light. The faceting reaches its most complex point at the top of the tower, which features a series of stepped volumes.
The building’s exterior is clad in pink-tinged granite and gray-tinted glass for an additional Moderne touch.
Fox Plaza is an excellent example of a Late Modern design that reinvents the character of an earlier style without becoming a parody of it.