Aon Center (Los Angeles)

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For the skyscraper in Chicago, see Aon Center (Chicago).
Aon Center
Downtown Los Angeles - Aon Center.jpg
Alternative names United California Bank Building
First Interstate Tower
General information
Status Complete
Type Commercial offices
Location 707 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, California
Coordinates 34°02′57″N 118°15′25″W / 34.049167°N 118.256944°W / 34.049167; -118.256944Coordinates: 34°02′57″N 118°15′25″W / 34.049167°N 118.256944°W / 34.049167; -118.256944
Construction started 1970
Completed 1973
Owner 707 Wilshire Fee LLC
Roof 261.52 m (858.0 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 62
5 below ground
Floor area 116,128 m2 (1,249,990 sq ft)
Lifts/elevators 30
Design and construction
Architect Charles Luckman
Structural engineer Erkel Greenfield Associates
Main contractor CL Peck Contractor

Aon Center is a 62-story, 860 ft (260 m) Modernist office skyscraper at 707 Wilshire Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles, California. Designed by Charles Luckman, site excavation started in late-1970, and the tower was completed in 1973, the rectangular bronze-clad building with white trim is remarkably slender for a skyscraper in a seismically active area. It is the second tallest building in Los Angeles, the second tallest in California, and the 31st tallest in the United States. The logo of the Aon Corporation, its anchor tenant, is displayed at the top in red.


Aon Center was originally named the United California Bank Building from its completion in 1973 until 1981, when it became First Interstate Tower. It was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River when built, until 1982 when it was surpassed by the Texas Commerce Tower in Houston. Upon its completion in 1973, the building was the tallest in the world outside of New York and Chicago. It remained the tallest building in Los Angeles until 1989, when Library Tower (now U.S. Bank Tower) was completed. Between 1998 and 2005, there were no logos on the building.


On May 4, 1988, a fire began on the 12th floor just after 10:00 PM, it burned for about four hours. The fire destroyed five floors, injured 40 people, and left a maintenance worker dead because the elevator opened onto the burning 12th floor.[6] The fire was so severe because the building was not equipped with a sprinkler system, which was not required for office towers at the time of its construction. A sprinkler system was 90 percent installed at the time of the fire; however, the system was inoperative, awaiting the installation of water flow alarms.[6] The fire was eventually contained at 2:19 AM, and caused $400 million in damage. Repair work took four months. Because of the fire, building codes in Los Angeles were modified, requiring all high-rises to be equipped with fire sprinklers. This modified a 1974 ordinance that only required new buildings to contain fire sprinkler systems, grandfathering older buildings. Existing all-concrete construction high-rises are still exempt from this ordinance.

Floor names[edit]

The north entrance is level with 6th Street, and is named BL (Bank Level since a Wells Fargo Bank branch occupies the eastern half of that floor). The east and west sidewalks slope downward to Wilshire Blvd. with steps leading up to the south entrance. Elevators on the south side of BL and escalators on the north side of BL both go up to the ML (Main Lobby) level, where additional banks of elevators reach floors numbered 4-62. No 2nd floor exists, though the height of ML is twice that of ML (hence, this is a 62-story tower with only 61 floors). The BL/ML elevator also goes down to underground levels LBL (Lower Bank Level), LL1 (Lower Level 1 with evacuation tunnel used by firefighters in 1988), and LL2 (valet parking garage).

In popular culture[edit]

  • The 1988 fire was highlighted in a 1991 ABC TV-movie Fire: Trapped on the 37th Floor starring Lee Majors, Lisa Hartman-Black and Peter Scolari.
  • The building was featured in the 2015 disaster film San Andreas, where it collapses when a massive earthquake destroys Los Angeles.

See also[edit]


Aon Center


  1. ^ "Aon Center". CTBUH Skyscraper Database. 
  2. ^ Aon Center (Los Angeles) at Emporis
  3. ^ Aon Center (Los Angeles) at Glass Steel and Stone
  4. ^ "Aon Center". SkyscraperPage. 
  5. ^ Aon Center (Los Angeles) at Structurae
  6. ^ a b "Technical Report, Interstate Bank Building Fire". United States Fire Administration. Archived from the original on 8 January 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Cameron, Robert (1990). Above Los Angeles. San Francisco: Cameron & Company. ISBN 0-918684-48-X. 

External links[edit]