The intersection of Wilshire and San Vicente Boulevards is a busy place, dominated by sleek high-rise office buildings looming over the traffic below. One of the most magnificent is the tower at 6500 Wilshire, its angled mass standing tall on a triangular corner lot. Completed in 1986, the tower was originally the western region headquarters of Cadillac Fairview/California, a subsidiary of a Canadian real estate development company.
Cadillac Fairview hired architects I. M. Pei and the Luckman Partnership to design its flagship building, apparently sparing no expense in either construction or materials. The result is an impressive twenty-three-story building that is nearly rectangular in plan except for one corner that was “cut away” to break up the mass and create a dramatic reflective surface facing San Vicente. The tower is sleekly clad in reddish-brown Brazilian granite and reflective bronze glass, with all of its surfaces appearing to be flush for an aerodynamic and strangely artificial effect.
In some lights, it resembles a CGI building digitally inserted into a street scene when a Hollywood director decided a shot’s actual building wasn’t dramatic enough.
The building’s interior was similarly finished with rich materials. Between the fine finishes, the clean Late Modern lines, and the rooftop helicopter pad, 6500 Wilshire begs for consideration one of the more extravagant, if architecturally successful, excesses of the 1980s.