Bank of America Plaza Building

Bank Of America Plaza Building
  1. About the Bank of America Plaza Building in Los Angeles
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectureal style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The Bank of America Plaza Building is an International Style skyscraper designed by AC Martin & Associates and built between 1973 and 1975 in Los Angeles, CA.

Bank of America Plaza 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 building has changed names several times over the years, and is also known as:

  • Security Pacific Bank Building between 1974 and 1991.
  • BP Plaza.
  • ARCO Center.

Its precise street address is 301-333 South Hope, Los Angeles, CA. You can also find it on the map here.

The square-shaped building is positioned at a 45-degree angle relative to the city grid, allowing for better solar control and, consequently, savings in lighting, heating, and air conditioning.

The building only occupies 16% of the 4 acre lot where it stands. This allows for a large open spaces, particularly on the South-West side of the building. This plaza has over a hundred plants including eucalyptus, orange, jacaranda, and ornamental pear trees. The garden culminates in a ring of trees highlighted by three 7m waterfalls at the heart of the square.

The Four Arches sculpture by Alexander Calder is located in front of the entrance, just as in the Kluczynski Federal Building in Chicago.

Both the inside of the building and the surrounding plaza have served as a backdrop for numerous films, including ones which were not actually set in Los Angeles.

It has been used as the fictional headquarters of Mattel in the movie "Barbie," as an office building in the film "Pretty Woman," or in the series "Dynasty." Its exteriors were filmed, among others, as an adjacent building to the Crystal Tower in the film "The Towering Inferno," which was shot in San Francisco, or in "The Night of the Comet". .

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Security Pacific Bank Building
Construction completed
years ago

Architect and team

AC Martin & Associates was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

AC Martin & Associates was in charge of the architectural design, however, architecture is a complex discipline, which usually involves many professionals from different fields, without whom this building would have not been possible. We will surely be leaving out a lot of names here, but here is a list of the people we do know also played their part in making the Bank of America Plaza Building a reality:

  • A.C. Martin & Associates in charge of Structural Engineering
  • Turner Construction Company as the Main Contractor
  • Brookfield Properties as the Main Developer

Architectural Style

The Bank of America Plaza 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 Bank of America Plaza Building reaches an architectural height of 735ft (224m). It has a total of 64 floors, 55 above ground and 9 basements, served by 30 elevators.

The building sits on a 183,385 sqf (17,037m2) piece of land , and offers a total of 1,421,707 sqf (132,081m2) of usable space.

In regards to parking space, the building has a total of 343 spots available, which roughly equals 6 spots per floor (above ground), or one parking spot per every 4,144 sqf (385m2) of usable space.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1975, the Bank of America Plaza Building has mainly been used as Commercial space.

735ft (224m)
9 basements

Materials & Structure

The Bank of America Plaza Building uses a frame structure made of steel columns and concrete slabs.

A frame structure uses a combination of beams and columns to sustain the building's weight. The walls in this case are non-load bearing, which allows for more flexibility when distributing the interior spaces.

The facade of the building however, is load bearing. This doesn't imply that it is a traditional load-bearing wall. Rather, it means that the structure's exterior pillars have been pushed to the very edges, becoming integrated with the facade, and therefore, technically, a part of it.

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features 10 massive columns on each side that run from ground level all the way to the top of the building. These columns are clad in granite and create 9 bays on each side of the building. These bays are then covered with a dark-colored curtain wall.

The top of the building is also crowned by a ribbon clad in granite, where the corporate logo of the building is displayed.

Other materials found at the Bank of America Plaza Building include, bronze, found in the striking entryway, granite, found not only on the facade, but also in the interior walls of the public spaces, with a light flame-finished and opalescdent polished on floors, and dark wood, found on the lobby's ceiling, which rises 8 meters from ground level.