LA Adventure Specialist - 4:19 27 May 2010

Aon Center

Aon Center is a modernist office skyscraper located at 707 Wilshire Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles, California. Completed in 1973, it is the second-tallest building in Los Angeles at 858 feet  (262 meters) high, and has 62 floors. Designed by Charles Luckman, it is a rectangular black building with a white border, and a remarkably slender form for a skyscraper in a seismically-active area. Seen best on LA helicopter tours the logo of the Aon Corporation, its primary tenant, is displayed at the top in red.

It was originally the United California Bank Building from its completion in 1973 until 1984, when it became First Interstate Tower. When built, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, until surpassed by the Texas Commerce Tower in 1982. It remained the tallest building in Los Angeles until 1989 when the Library Tower (now the U.S. Bank Tower) was completed. Between 1998 and 2003, there were no logos on the building.

On May 4, 1988, a fire that began in the 12th floor just after 10:00 PM PST burned for four hours, destroyed five floors, injured 40 people, and left one maintenance worker dead when the elevator the worker was riding opened onto the burning 12th floor. 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 construction was completed in 1973. A sprinkler system was 90% installed at the time of the fire, however, the system was inoperative, awaiting the installation of water flow alarms. The fire was eventually contained at 2:19 AM, and caused $50 million in damages. Repair work took four months. Because of the fire, Los Angeles building codes were changed, 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.

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