Federal Building | Los Angeles Conservancy
Federal Building
Photo by Nigel Lo

Federal Building

The seventeen-story Wilshire Federal Building sits in the middle of a former golf course on twenty-eight acres of land. Designed by Charles Luckman Associates, the building is corporate Late Modernism at its finest; a pure white façade is interrupted only by white precast concrete fins that shade the offices and emphasize the building’s verticality. The building is clad in white concrete, with white plaster facing on the east and west windowless façades. Public service messages were once projected onto the sides of the building and included appeals for purchase of savings bonds, use of ZIP codes, and general public safety suggestions, such as locking automobiles to prevent theft. It took four years to complete the building due to government design modifications and schedule setbacks.

Among the original tenants of the buildings was the Veterans’ Administration; corridors and doorways were designed to be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs. Designed to provide space for 2,000 employees, other tenants included an office of the Internal Revenue Service, the audit division of NASA, the Los Angeles forecast center of the U.S. Weather Bureau, and the FBI. Ten high-speed elevators were located on the exterior of the building and separate from the main lobby to create more flexible space. Among the Cold War-era features of the Wilshire Federal Building are the civil defense shelter areas in the basements and upper floors, with the ability to shelter up to 13,000 people.

Photo by Laura Dominguez/L.A. Conservancy

Lincoln Heights Jail

The Art Deco Lincoln Heights Jail was infamous for having a separate wing to house its high numbers of gay inmates.
West Los Angeles Civic Center
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

West Los Angeles Civic Center

Built between 1957 and 1965, the civic center reflects the postwar growth of municipal services and the general optimism of the period, exemplified by its eye-catching Mid-Century Modern design.
Bank of America Chinatown Branch, 2020. Photo by Jenna Snow.

Bank of America Chinatown Branch

Designed by Gilbert Leong and Richard Layne Tom in the 1970s, the Chinatown Branch of Bank of America is significant for its architecture and connection to L.A.'s growing Chinese American community. The property is being considered for Historic-Cultural Monument listing.