5900 Wilshire Building

5900 Wilshire Building
  1. About the 5900 Wilshire Building in Los Angeles
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectureal style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The 5900 Wilshire Building is an International Style skyscraper designed by William Pereira & Associates, with Gin Wong as lead architect,, in association with Welton Becket and Associates, and built between 1968 and 1971 in Los Angeles, CA.

5900 Wilshire Building is not the only name you might know this building by though. It is common for companies to want to attach their names to iconic buildings when they move in, or for the general public to come up with nicknames, and this one is no exception. The 5900 Wilshire Building is also known, or has been known as, People's Bank Building, or Mutual Benefit Life Building.

Its precise street address is 5900 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA. You can also find it on the map here.

The building has been restored 2 times over the years to ensure its conservation and adaptation to the pass of time. The main restoration works happened in 2007 and 2020.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Construction completed
years ago
  1. 2005 to 2007 - The renovation included a new reception area in the lobby, featuring a clearer entrance by removing the existing non-structural columns and enclosing the exterior space with a minimalist high-performance glass curtain wall supported by points between each remaining span of tall two-story columns, enhancing the interior/exterior relationship of the space. Natural stone was used on some of the lobby's walls, with steel finishes, and padded leather details on some walls. The architect in charge was Johnson Fain Architects.
  2. 2019 to 2020 - The renovation of the square surrounding the building replaced the original straight-lined shapes with broad curved forms that create smooth transitions combining street life with office environments. Ponds and grass were replaced with plantings that require less water, and rest areas and social spaces were added. The architect in charge was Eptdesign.

Architect and team

William Pereira & Associates, with Gin Wong as the lead architect, was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design, in association with Welton Becket and Associates.

Architectural Style

The 5900 Wilshire Building can be categorized as an International Style building.

The international style originated in Europe in the early 20th century, and made its way to the US a couple of decades later when the rise of the Nazi regime forced figures such as Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, or Mies van der Rohe to flee Europe.

The International Style emerged as a response to the prevailing historicism and ornate architecture styles of the late 19th century, which according to a younger generation of architects didn't represent the new materials and construction techniques that were on the rise at the time.

Architecture in the early 20th century US was marked by the adoption of steel structures, modern construction techniques, and the rise of the skyscraper. As it turns out, this combination of circumstances created the perfect ecosystem for the International Style to flourish, becoming the to-go style for skyscraper designs during the mid-20th century, when American cities were growing fast.

The International Style’s legacy can not only be found in numerous iconic buildings across all major American cities, but also incorporated in contemporary architecture, which still puts a big emphasis on functionality and minimalism.

Spaces & Uses

The 5900 Wilshire Building reaches an architectural height of 443ft (135m). It has a total of 32 floors, served by 11 elevators.

In regards to parking space, the building has a total of 135 spots available, which roughly equals 4 spots per floor (above ground).

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1971, the 5900 Wilshire Building has mainly been used as Commercial space.

443ft (135m)

Materials & Structure

The 5900 Wilshire Building uses a framed tube-in-tube structure , with steel columns and concrete slabs.

A framed tube-in-tube structure uses a central core, known as inner tube, which usually holds stairs, lifts and installations, and a perimeter of columns around it, which form the exterior tube. The interior tube is tipically more massive (often made of reinforced concrete), and the exterior tube is "lighter" (made of steel or concrete columns). Both tubes are conencted via horizontal elements which make up the floors and also transmit any horizontal froces from the facade to the core.

The facade of the building is load bearing. This is a direct consequence of the integration of the exterior "tube" into the facade, something which most framed tube-in-tube buildings do in order to liberate the interior space from structural elements and achieve a more flexible interior.

So the facade of the builing is techinically load-bearing, yes, however, in between the load-bearing colums we find a curtain-wall type of facade, which by itself would not be cosnidered load-bearing.

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features 12 narrow bays which are defined by the exterior row of pillars from the tube-in-tube structure. The pillars are finished with white concrete. Within each bay there's a continuous dark-tinted curtain wall with no spandrels..