AKA: One Bunker Hill Office Building, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA; 1 Bunker Hill Building, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Allison and Allison, Architects (firm); Consolidated Steel Corporation (firm); Downtown Properties Holdings, LLC (firm); Walker, P.J., and Company, Building Contractors (firm); David Clark Allison (architect); James Edward Allison (architect); Percival J. Walker Sr. (building contractor); Austin Cruver Whittlesey (architect)

Dates: constructed 1929-1930

14 stories, total floor area: 284,954 sq. ft.

601 West 5th Street
Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90071-2004

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Overview

This skyscraper for the local electrical utility covered a 175 x 175-foot square, and was to rise to the height limit for Los Angeles in 1929, a few feet below the 435-foot City Hall. Allison and Allison, the Los Angeles architectural firm, designed the building, collaborating with the P.J. Walker Construction Company and the Consolidated Steel Corporation. The 14-story building has also been known as the "1 Bunker Hill Building."

Building History

Architect Austin C. Whittlesey (1893-1950) of Allison and Allison has been credited by some as the designer of this second high-rise office building for Southern California Edison. The building had two notable distinctions: first, it was apparently the first Pacific Coast high-rise office building to use electricity to operate its own heating and air-conditioning system. Second, it had one of the most labor-intensive and complex welded steel frames then attempted. The Los Angeles Times stated of both new achievements: "The structure will be unique in that it will be the first skyscraper on the West Coast to manufacture its own climate, plans by Allison & Allison, architects, reveal. Use of electricity in the operation of the ventilating system will render temperature control independent of outside air conditions. Additional interest in construction of the building lies in the fact that it will be the largest single steel-frame welding job of its kind in the history of building construction. About 400,000 inches of bead will be required to hold in place the 3500 tons of steel now being fabricated by Consolidated Steel Corporation. The frame is designed that the building may be capable of withstanding a general conflagration, a major hurricane, or an earthquake of an intensity equal to that of the heaviest shock experienced since men learned to measure such forces. To accomplish this, engineers have designed it so the vertical loads will be carried on riveets in the usual way, but arc-welded connections will be substituted for riveting for bracing against horizontal forces." (See "Downtown Construction Hits Rapid Pace," Los Angeles Times, 10/06/1929, p. D1.) The Southern California Edison Building stood as an engineering marvel, reflective of the competitive push with the engineering community to set new standards for frame strength and HVAC system technological sophistication during the 1920s.

Digging and shoring up of the foundation was complete by 10/06/1929, and construction was to begin shortly thereafter.

In 2019, Downtown Properties Holdings, LLC, the American affiliate of Hong Kong-based Gaw Captial Partners, owned the 1 Bunker Hill Building.

Building Notes

The Southern California Edison Office Building #2 became Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #347.

The building sold on 12/10/2018 for $130,084,755.

Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument: 347

Los Angeles County Assessor Number: 5151017030

PCAD id: 3544