Gas Company Tower

Los Angeles, California, US

Square Feet: 1,750,000

The 55-story tower is a compact, street defining form that rises up to a boat shaped blue glass column intended to evoke the official symbol of the Gas Company.  Most of the curtain wall is based on a 5-foot panel unit without corner joints that is quick to erect and appears seamless.

The location of the site was key to the design of the base of the building.  On a block facing an important public square on one end, and a Los Angeles landmark, the Central Library, on the other, the base was designed to respond to these amenities by orienting the entries toward them, and by creating an active street life with shops, signage and art.  Visitors to the building will leave the activity of the street by taking escalators to a second floor lobby where a park-like setting with sunlight, landscaping and water, achieves a quiet transition from the public attitude of the exterior design.

The steep site has been used to create a series of interlocking lobbies whose monumental scale is relieved by retail spaces, canted screens and an internal window that provides views of the park for visitors descending the escalator.

The company cafeteria and other public spaces are located in a low-level section that protrudes from the base of the tower, anchoring the building firmly on the lower scale of adjacent Pershing Square.  A slot left over to the North was treated as "borrowed space" for the main lobby and embellished with a block-long mural by Frank Stella.