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Home Federal Savings/Pacific Mercantile Bank Building
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Home Federal Savings/Pacific Mercantile Bank Building

The Perpetual Savings and Loan building is a striking tower of stacked white arches with trailing greenery, sited prominently along Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. It was designed by seminal architect Edward Durell Stone in the New Formalist style he popularized in the early 1960s, and represents an important step in his re-visioning of historical Classical, Moorish, and Indo-Islamic styles through a Modern lens.

Completed in 1962, the eight-story Perpetual Savings building is a simple glass-skinned high-rise completely sheathed in a pierced concrete screen of repeating parabolic arches. It has been described as Venetian Modern, and indeed it stands like a simplified palazzo, complete with front plaza containing four flagpoles and a dramatic circular fountain. Some people see another Italian influence: the Mussolini-commissioned Palazzo della Civilta Italiana in Rome, known as the "Square Colosseum" for its Fascist replication of the ancient arena's arches on a square tower.

Stone was indeed enamored of both classical and modern Italian architecture at the time, visiting the country often with his Italian-born wife; he produced his most obviously Venetian-influenced design, the controversial Gallery of Modern Art on Columbus Circle in Manhattan, in 1964. Whatever its origins, the Perpetual Savings building is a vision in concrete and a lovely work by one of the most influential architects of his time.

Glendale Federal Savings
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Glendale Federal Savings, Glendale

Peruvian-born architect W. A. Sarmiento designed hundreds of Modern-style bank buildings all over the country, but one of the most renowned and best-loved is right in Glendale.
Photo by Larry Underhill

Sinai Temple

Sinai Temple is a magnificent statement in Expressionist design by architect Sidney Eisenshtat, a graduate of USC’s School of Architecture and student of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Santa Monica Civic Auditorium

This Corporate International Style auditorium designed by Welton Becket & Associates was recognized by the American Institute of Architects with an Honor Award in 1960.