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1.5-acres, a steeply sloped downtown site

Index to Projects in California

Los Angeles, California

Gross Floor Area
1,750,000 s/f including 200,000s/f underground garage    

Maguire Thomas Partners, Santa Monica, California, in joint venture with Pacific Enterprises, Los Angeles, California

Time Frame
Planning: 10/83
Construction: 6/87
Completion: 1989

U.S. Bank Tower

formerly Library Tower
originally First Interstate World Center

Los Angeles, California
Completed 1989


Lead Designers:



Henry N. Cobb
Harold Fredenburgh


Investment office building with parking

Click on image to enlarge

U.S. Bank Tower is located across the street from the Los Angeles Public Library, completed by the noted architect Bertram Goodhue in 1926. The 1.3-million s/f tower, erected on air rights purchased from the city, enabled the library to be preserved and expanded within its historic open setting rather than being demolished for commercial development.

The 73-story seismically engineered building (the tallest west of Chicago) is based on a matrix of overlapping and concentric geometries one circular, the other orthogonal that define a series of setbacks up to the full 1,018' height. The tower was shaped to create a memorable skyline image and yet grant primacy to Goodhue's library. It curves back deferentially from the small landmark to reorient its enormous mass while animating the area with dining, shops and a key urban connection: the new Bunker Hill Steps, adjacent to the tower, afford the only direct pedestrian access between the previously separated upper and lower parts of downtown.

As the backdrop to the library and also a new urban link, the tower makes its presence felt at street level not as a self-centered object but rather as one of several supporting actors on an urban stage where the unquestioned star is the historic library.


Major Components

1,350,000 s/f offices  (66 floors @ 9,000 23,000s/f); 44,500s/f retail; 8,000s/f main lobby with commissioned mural; public plazas; 200,000s/f underground parking for 550 cars




Los Angeles Business Council: Beautification Award: New Commercial High Rise



California Geotechnical Engineers Association: Outstanding Project Award


Pei Cobb Freed & Partners services

Master Planning; Architectural Design; coordination with executive architect on construction documents and construction administration


Associate Architect

Executive Architect: Ellerbe Becket Associates, Santa Monica, CA



CBM Engineers, Inc., Houston, TX


Mechanical / Electrical

James A. Knowles & Associates, Los Angeles, CA



Levine / Seagel Associates, Santa Monica, CA



Lawrence Halprin & Associates, San Francisco, CA



Photo credits

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