The US Bank Tower, formerly known as Library Tower, is located in Downtown Los Angeles at 633 W 5th St. It is the tallest building in California, and it is the 65th tallest building in the world. It stands at over 1,000 feet tall.
Prior to the 1950s, the skyscraper would not have been allowed to be built due to laws that forbade any building from standing more than 150 ft tall. These were laws in place to protect the city, its buildings, and its population from the destructive capabilities of earthquakes. However, thanks to technological advances in the construction of buildings, particularly skyscrapers, it could be built to withstand the force of a level 8.3 earthquake.
Regardless of improvements in our buildings, the real danger of earthquakes is evident in the way the tower was designed. For instance, Los Angeles law requires that all towers in the city have helipads to allow emergency services to reach people inside quickly even if ground services cannot reach them. This is especially important in the event of an earthquake.
The history of why the tower’s developers could build it at all is also interesting. Following the fires in the Los Angeles Public Library (about which I wrote in a previous post), the library was in dire need of money. As a solution, they sold the air rights (the rights to build into your/the surrounding airspace) to developers, who built the tower, naming it Library Tower. Having shifted owners multiple times since then, US bank tower is now actually owned by an Indonesian hotel and property company. Although they plan to install an observation deck for tourists (at $25/person), this is still not in effect, so when I visited, we were immediately turned away.