The American Cement Company's building on Wilshire Boulevard was built not just to house its headquarters, but to showcase the strength, construction advantages, and architectural possibilities of concrete.
A better showcase for the humble material cannot be found, as this building is both a triumph of structural engineering and a monumental piece of sculptural art. American Cement hired architectural firm Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall (DMJM) to realize its lofty vision, and the architects delivered with a thirteen-story reinforced concrete building capped by a zigzag roof.
It was completed in 1964. The office’s most striking feature is the enormous latticework of 450 precast concrete “X”s covering its north and south façades like an exoskeleton. While sculptural in nature and visually striking,
the primary purpose of the latticework is to provide external support for the structural system so the building’s interior can be free of columns.
The resulting interior features high ceilings and large, open floors with expansive views across the city (through a dramatic series of “X”s, of course). In 2002, the American Cement building was rehabilitated into seventy-one live/work lofts. Its exterior remains unaltered, an enduring testament to the power and, dare we say it, the beauty of concrete.