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First Bank, Beverly Hills

The First Bank Building (originally Ahmanson Bank & Trust) on Wilshire Boulevard was designed by Millard Sheets and built in 1959. In 2013, the current property owners began to research the steps required to restore the historic structure, contracting with various firms specializing in architecture, maintenance and restoration, and installation.

In 2014, a City Landmark Assessment and Evaluation Report was prepared for the city of Beverly Hills.  The findings of this report were that the building qualified as a historic landmark per the criteria specified by the city.

Prior to moving forward with this restoration project, the project team determined that the marble slab vertical veneer/concrete masonry anchoring and installation system needed to be evaluated for its structural integrity, and proceeded to remove a slab on the north wall to inspect the system.  The team concluded that the system has failed adding safety, material, and installation concerns to the challenges of the restoration project.  Therefore, with the team’s assistance, and the consideration of multiple industry sources, James Paley, principal of PALEY Stone & Tile Forensics, conducted an assessment and preliminary restoration and/or repair proposal for the marble and granite veneer, and the granite porte cochere steps with landings.

The results of this analysis indicate that all of the vertical slabs require removal, evaluation and documentation, and re-installation only if they can be restored to the building’s historical character and aesthetics, and exhibit the necessary structural integrity.  In addition, the vertical veneer/concrete masonry anchoring and installation system needs updating to meet building codes to account for slab expansion and contraction, and seismic considerations.  If the slabs do not meet re-installation requirements, then in-kind slabs should replace those failed or unacceptable slabs.

Click to view: First Bank / Ahmanson Bank – Stone Assessment

Mr. Paley received his nationally recognized Historic Preservation Certificate from the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies, Mt. Carroll, IL.

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Millard Sheets was an influential designer in the Southern California art community. His Claremont based firm Millard Sheets Design, Inc., designed and executed large ‐ scale murals, mosaics, and stained ‐ glass windows. Sheets’ artistic legacy in southern California is most visible in the design and decoration of more than 120 branches of the Home Savings and Loan Association, an endeavor he began in 1952. His influence was also felt through his teaching and curatorial efforts. He served on the faculty and later as director of art at Scripps College and Claremont Graduate School, and was also the director of the Los Angeles County Art Institute. As director of art exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Fair from 1931 to 1956, Sheets exposed the work of contemporary local artists and craftspeople to a broad public.  practice, his role as an educator, and his curatorial initiatives.

Click to view “Millard Sheets: A Legacy of Art & Architecture