Union Bank Building | Los Angeles Conservancy

Union Bank Building

The Union Bank Building was the first high-rise built in the Central Business District after the 1920s. It was one of the first skyscrapers erected after the 150’ height limit was repealed in 1957 and the first building taller than City Hall. It was also the first structure to be completed as part of the Bunker Hill redevelopment project that began an era of skyscraper building in the Central Business District.

As the first structure completed as part of the Bunker Hill redevelopment project, the Union Bank Building was an important step in making the area attractive to new development. The developers were the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, which purchased the land in 1965. Placed on a sloped site, the forty-story tower rises uninterrupted from a plaza, which itself is set back above a two-story retail court which is at street level. The tower’s recessed windows are heavily framed with a grid of concrete panels. The effect of the panels is to give the building the sense of a monolithic skyscraper from a distance, but close up it looks as if a net or cage of concrete has been lowered over a glass tower.

To the north is a garden plaza designed by important modernist architect Garret Eckbo of Eckbo, Dean, Austin, and Williams).

Photo by Annie Laskey/Los Angeles Conservancy

City National Plaza

Completed in 1972 for the headquarters of Atlantic Richfield Company, these dark towers flanking a striking plaza typify the corporate architecture of the time.
Harbor Building
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Harbor Building

Combining Corporate International and Late Moderne styles, Claud Beelman's Harbor Building on Wilshire Boulevard is one of the era's most impressive corporate buildings.