Halprin’s Wells Fargo Court Demolished

As the Los Angeles Downtown News reported on January 8, 2018, the destruction of the Wells Fargo Atrium came as a shock to local advocacy groups. Brookfield Properties, which owns the Wells Fargo Center in downtown Los Angeles, reportedly applied for a construction permit on December 18, 2017. Astonishingly, the permit was issued within two days, and demolition began soon thereafter. In a statement, the company said the renovations were aimed at making the Wells Fargo Center “amenity-rich.” The Los Angeles Conservancy, which announced via a social-media post on December 21, 2017, that the atrium had been demolished, called its destruction "an outrage.”

Completed in 1983 with architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and sculptor Robert Graham, Wells Fargo Court was conceived with developer Robert Maguire as “an urban, indoor Garden of Eden.” Designed primarily to display Modernist sculpture, the space was the only Halprin project where the landscape design was subservient to sculpture, in this case works by Graham and other artists, including Joan Miro and Jean Dubuffet. Sadly, the destroyed landscape was also Halprin’s only atrium design.

The destroyed Wells Fargo Atrium, Los Angeles, CA
The destroyed Wells Fargo Atrium, Los Angeles, CA - Photo by Alex Inshishian, courtesy of the L.A. Conservancy, 2017