Wells Fargo Center | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Michael Locke

Wells Fargo Center

Now known as Wells Fargo Center, the complex at 333 South Grand was designed by the firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Although the design of the complex is based on the conventional ground plan of two towers flanking a smaller building (like the earlier ARCO Towers), the architects put a twist on Corporate International "glass box" design by giving these towers parallelogram-shaped bases with sharp angles soaring into the sky.

The towers and central building are clad in light reddish-brown granite, signifying the beginning of the movement away from black, grey, and silver as the color of choice for corporate high-rises. All three buildings are linked by a plaza/promenade that is punctuated by trees, benches, and large sculpture.

The low building between the towers houses shopping and dining areas. The interior is atrium-style, designed by noted landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, who also designed the Bunker Hill Steps. Trees, fountains, and the use of exterior materials such as rough-hewn granite give the atrium a park-like atmosphere. Bronze nudes by Los Angeles-based artist Robert Graham adorn a network of pools and fountains.

Wilshire Grand Hotel, 2005. Photo by Larry Underhill

Wilshire Grand Hotel (Demolished)

Opened as the Statler Center, the Wilshire Grand was the first major downtown hotel constructed since the Biltmore in 1923.
Lake Avenue Congregational Church
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Lake Avenue Congregational Church

Towering over the 210 Freeway, this fan-shaped building was completed in 1988 to join other, older buildings as the church's new center of Christian worship in a modern show-stopping style.