Southeast corner of Fifth Street and Virgil Avenue, 1961-2011


Although the postwar growth of the Wilshire Center area left its greatest mark on Wilshire Boulevard itself, a few previously residential side streets, primarily in the Vermont Avenue vicinity, were left with a collection of small and mid-sized office buildings. During the late 1950s, nearly two full blocks of Virgil Avenue were single-handedly rebuilt into a minuscule office district by the Carter Company Contractors & Developers.

The four-story office building at 500 S. Virgil Avenue was completed by the Carter Company around the end of 1960, with a design by architects Allison & Rible. Its aluminum exterior walls were given sharp visual definition by dark porcelain enamel panels that lined the roofline and window frames. The aesthetic importance of the porcelain enamel trim is made all too clear by its absence; its removal during a later renovation has left the facade with a flat, washed-out appearance.

1. “Insurance firm moves to new office building.” Los Angeles Times. 19 Mar. 1916. I16.
2. “New Wilshire area offices being built.” Los Angeles Times. 6 Dec. 1959. F16.
Original photo: Cross, Herbert Bruce. “Stauffer Chemical Building, 500 S. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles, 1961 – examiner-m3351.” 1961. Los Angeles Examiner Prints Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections.

This entry was posted in Koreatown/Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, Then and now and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Southeast corner of Fifth Street and Virgil Avenue, 1961-2011

  1. Bill Sharon says:

    As an architect I’ve worked on this building and done some research and want to make a few corrections to this article. The building was actually completed at the beginning of the ’60’s (Feb. 1961). The exterior walls are not aluminum but are smooth poured in place concrete.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s