Figueroa at Wilshire Building

Figueroa At Wilshire Building
  1. About the Figueroa at Wilshire Building in Los Angeles
    1. Prizes & Awards
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectural style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The Figueroa at Wilshire Building is a Postmodernist skyscraper designed by Albert C. Martin & Associates and built between 1988 and 1990 in Los Angeles, CA.

Figueroa at 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 building has changed names several times over the years, and is also known as:

  • Sanwa Bank Plaza between 1990 and 0.
  • Mitsui Fudoson Tower.
  • United California Bank Building.

Its precise street address is 601 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA. You can also find it on the map here.

The Figueroa at Wilshire Building has received multiple architecture awards for its architectural design since . The following is a list of such prizes and awards:

  • Beautification Award Best New Commercial High Rise; Los Angeles Business Council in 1991
  • Office Building of the Year Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA) in 1991
  • Rose Award Downtown Breakfast Club in 1991
  • Office Building of the Year Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA) in 1995

The design showcases a square pedestal at street level, which ascends through multiple setbacks to culminate in a striking octagonal glass crown.

At ground level the building opens up to a spacious open-air public plaza.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Sanwa Bank Plaza
years ago

Architect and team

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

Albert C. Martin & Associates was in charge of the architectural design, however, architecture is a complex discipline involving 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 Figueroa at Wilshire Building a reality:

  • CBM Engineer in charge of Structural Engineering
  • Swinerton as the Main Contractor
  • Peter M. Muller in charge of Facade Consultancy
  • Brookfield Properties as the Main Developer
  • Eric Orr as the collaborating Artist

Architectural Style

The Figueroa at Wilshire Building can be categorized as a Postmodernist building.

Postmodernism in architecture emerged in the United States during the late 1960s as a reaction against the starkness of the International Style, which part of the new generation of architects argued was too impersonal, sterile, and disconnected from historical and cultural contexts.

Postmodernism challenged the International Style's austerity by reintroducing historical elements and ornamentation, although this time not as literally as in the Neo-Classic buildings. Instead, they reinterpreted them within the context of modern materials and construction techniques.

Postmodern buildings often feature bold, contrasting colors, unconventional forms, and a playful blend of various architectural elements from different eras and cultures.

In the United States, Postmodernism was not just an aesthetic choice but also a philosophical stance. It represented a democratization of design, where architects sought to create buildings that were accessible and meaningful to a broader range of people, not just designers and intellectuals.

The Figueroa at Wilshire Building was completed in 1990. By 1990 the Postmodernism movement was experiencing a transition. Critics argued that Postmodernism, initially a rebellious and innovative style, had become formulaic and commercialized, and so the trend started moving away from blending historical styles, irony, and playful ornamentation, and begun to give way to emerging architectural trends concerned with more present matters such as technology, ecology or sustainability.

The Figueroa at Wilshire Building was kind of late to Postmodernist movement, which in some ways might make it seem older than it really is.

Spaces & Uses

The Figueroa at Wilshire Building reaches an architectural height of 719ft (219m). It has a total of 57 floors, 52 above ground and 5 basements. In total, it has a built-up area of 1,048,974 sqf (97,453m2) offering 999,999 sqf (92,903m2) of usable space.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1990, the Figueroa at Wilshire Building has mainly been used as Commercial space.

719ft (219m)
5 basements

Materials & Structure

The Figueroa at Wilshire 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 is non-load bearing either, as it is common in frame structure type buildings.

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features a curtain wall made of Brazilian Rose polished granite combined with tinted glass, brown granite, and bronze panels.

The glass crown resembles a faceted gem.