Citibank | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Citibank

When Liberty Savings and Loan constructed its new building at the corner of South Beverly Drive and West Pico Boulevard, it added a decidedly large-scale tower to a low-slung neighborhood.

The bank stood out from the start, not just because of its seven-story height, but because of its uncompromising Brutalist style rendered in unadorned structural concrete. It was designed by architect Kurt Meyer and completed in 1966. For all its size and strength, the Liberty Savings building is not monolithic or overpowering; its front façade is surprisingly light, supported on tapering columns that open the glass-clad first floor up to the outside.

At the top, the columns support a broad, unornamented parapet. Each story is marked by a simple horizontal element wrapping around the building, supported by concrete brackets and holding planters that let colorful vegetation spill over the side. Two vertical, and vertically scored, towers containing elevators and stairs run up the building's side façade.

After it was built, some tenants pushed to have the building painted dark brown so it would look more "finished." Meyer publicly protested this step, and the bank remained its simple, and quite effective, Brutalist self.

Today, some consider it among the finest examples of the style in Los Angeles.

Photo from Conservancy archives

Commonwealth Savings Building (Demolished)

Long recognized as an important example of mid-century office design, Gerald Bense's design was one of the first high-rise commercial structures built in the San Fernando Valley.
Ethel Percy Andrus Theatre at Lincoln High School. Photo by M. Rosalind Sagara/L.A. Conservancy

Lincoln High School

Lincoln High played a key role in the East L.A. Chicano Student Walkouts (Blowouts) of March 1968.
West Covina City Hall
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

West Covina City Hall

A response to West Covina's massive postwar growth and an expression of the desire for modern, accessible public facilities, West Covina City Hall is much more open and welcoming than most Brutalist designs.