AKA: One California Plaza Office Building, Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Erickson, Arthur, Associates (firm); Gruen Associates, Architecture / Planning / Engineering (firm); Kamnitzer Cotton Vreeland, Architects (firm); Kamnitzer and Cotton, Architects (firm); Martin, John A., and Associates, Incorporated, (JAMA) Structural Engineers (firm); Cotton (architect); Arthur Charles Erickson (architect); Kurt Franzen (architect); Peter Kamnitzer (architect); Robert L. Lesnett (architect); John A. Martin Sr. (structural engineer); Ki Suh Park (architect/urban planner); Maris Peika (architect); Allen M. Rubenstein (architect)

Dates: constructed 1983-1985

42 stories, total floor area: 1,050,000 sq. ft.

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300 South Grand Avenue
Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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The real estate development partnership, Bunker Hill Associates, obtained 11 acres of public land on which it intended to develop three office towers in the Bunker Hill section of Downtown Los Angeles in the early 1980s. Due to the high rate of office vacancy at the time, the developer built only two of the towers, 1 California Plaza and 2 California Plaza. (The third, 3 California Plaza, would have been located across the street and was intended to rise 65 stories.) As part of the deal using public land, Bunker Hill Associates would enable the construction of a public amenity, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), on the property. Other elements of the California Plaza complex included the Colburn School of Music, a large water feature covering an acre and a half, and the Los Angeles Omni Hotel.

Building History

Part of a large-scale redevelopment of the Bunker Hill neighborhood that began in the 1960s. Dilapidated Victorian houses were razed, and plans for a grand boulevard, appropriately called "Grand Avenue" took their place. This $100 million porject was to be Downtown Los Angeles's showplace, lined with sparkling office towers, high-rise condominiums, hotels, and cultural institutions.

A group of three architectural firms participated in the planning of the California Plaza complex, led by Arthur Erickson Architects of Vancouver, BC, along with the Los Angeles-based firms of Gruen Associates and Kamnitzer Cotton Vreeland. Kamnitizer Cotton Vreeland was active in the initial design competition for the California Plaza commission during the first half of 1980. Vreeland had left the partnership by the time 1 California Plaza was completed in 1985. Kamnitzer and Cotton maintained its place in the partnership during the 1983 through 1985 period.

John A. Martin and Associates served as the structural engineering consultant, and the Beck Group, the primary general contractor.

Maguire Properties, Incorporated, of Los Angeles, which had a team in the original design competition, owned 1 California Plaza c. 2008.

A partnership of Rising Realty Partners of Los Angeles, and Colony Northstar, Incorporated, also of Los Angeles, (renamed in 2018, "Colony Capital, Incorporated,") bought the 1 California Plaza property on 06/06/2017.

Building Notes

Obtaining this huge commission necessitated that Erickson open an office in Los Angeles, CA, which he did in 1981. The California Plaza commission was completed by Erickson working with two other architectural offices: Kamnitzer and Cotton and Gruen Associates.

1 California Plaza contained five floors below ground.

The building earned a LEED Gold rating from the US Green Building Council (USGBC).

PCAD id: 6491