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Architect of LA’s tallest building says he didn’t intend for it be the tallest

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“It was never our goal”

Real estate news website The Real Deal published a Q&A Tuesday with the architect of the Wilshire Grand, the tallest building in Los Angeles by a spire. The 73-story skyscraper, which will hold hotel rooms, offices, and retail on the first floor, is literally only taller than the U.S. Bank Tower because of a decorative spire.

In the interview, architect Christopher Martin says clinching the title of tallest building wasn’t important to him "at all." In fact, it wasn’t even intentional. He was just trying to avoid making the Wilshire Grand like all of the flat-roofed skyscrapers in DTLA that have had, until recently, to adhere to a 1974 fire code that required all high-rises to have helipads. Conveniently, that rule was struck from the code books just before construction started on the Wilshire Grand.

"I told [fire officials] I’m going to build a third staircase and a firemen-dedicated elevator with an impenetrable shaft, so there would be no need to have a helipad, and they agreed. This allowed us to add a spire, and all of a sudden the building was to be 1,100 feet tall. We didn’t realize it would be the tallest building in the West until an L.A. Times staffer wrote about it. But it was never our goal."

In the interview, Martin also talks about the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative and likens its goal to place a moratorium on development to "terrorism."

Head over to The Real Deal for the full Q&A.