American Cement Building Lofts | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Larry Underhill

American Cement Building Lofts

The American Cement Company's building on Wilshire Boulevard was built not just to house its headquarters, but to showcase the strength, construction advantages, and architectural possibilities of concrete.

A better showcase for the humble material cannot be found, as this building is both a triumph of structural engineering and a monumental piece of sculptural art. American Cement hired architectural firm Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall (DMJM) to realize its lofty vision, and the architects delivered with a thirteen-story reinforced concrete building capped by a zigzag roof.

It was completed in 1961. The office’s most striking feature is the enormous latticework of 450 precast concrete “X”s covering its north and south façades like an exoskeleton. While sculptural in nature and visually striking,

the primary purpose of the latticework is to provide external support for the structural system so the building’s interior can be free of columns.

The resulting interior features high ceilings and large, open floors with expansive views across the city (through a dramatic series of “X”s, of course). In 2002, the American Cement building was rehabilitated into seventy-one live/work lofts. Its exterior remains unaltered, an enduring testament to the power and, dare we say it, the beauty of concrete.

Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Valley Plaza Tower

A distinctive Valley landmark that was among the first skyscrapers built in L.A. after the 1957 repeal of a 150-foot height limit, this Corporate International style building dominated the North Hollywood landscape for years.
Gas Company Tower
Photo by Annie Laskey/L.A. Conservancy

Gas Company Tower

The 1991 Gas Company Tower rises in a series of cliff-like setbacks and inverted corners, with an elliptical top of blue glass symbolizing the trademark blue flame of the building’s primary tenant