Union Bank Square, Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles,


United States

Union Bank Plaza


Located downtown at Fifth and Figueroa Streets and adjacent to the Harbor Freeway, this 2.25-acre paved plaza, originally called Union Bank Square, is situated three stories above the street level and was designed by Garrett Eckbo in 1968. Nestled around the 40-story Union Bank Tower designed by Harrison + Abramowitz of New York and Albert C. Martin Associates of Los Angeles, the plaza was intended to be experienced by pedestrians and to be viewed from above by Union Bank employees. With multiple points of entry that include a pedestrian bridge from the neighboring Bonaventure Hotel, a monumental staircase and elevator at Fifth Street, and discrete staircases near the freeway, the plaza is accessible from the surrounding neighborhood.

The plaza’s biomorphic and organic forms recall paintings by Joan Miro, with a series of sculpted grass islands surrounded by water and linked by a central bridge. The water is essentially still, with the exception of two small jets. Framing and drawing attention to the fountain are a grove of trees planted on a grid, which corresponds to the structural columns below. The regimented arrangement of the trees transitions from circular concrete planter boxes in the paved center to lawn areas around the perimeter. Tree species include ficus, jacaranda, sycamore, and coral. The original design called for a series of sculptural forms by Bella Feldmand that were not realized, but in 1970 Jerome Kirk's commissioned piece Aquarius was dedicated in their place.


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