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Provident Bank is a striking building with its curved walls of lava rock, wide steps from the sidewalk up to the entry, and its ridged, patinaed copper detailing at the eaves. We were fascinated by this building because it was clearly the work of a significant architect, so we did some digging.
The architect was Gin Wong, FAIA. Wong was considered a significant modernist architect who was hailed for his achievements around the globe.
From his early days with Pereira & Luckman, he became president of Pereira & Associates, working on the famous LAX Theme Building, as well as overseeing the design of the TransAmerica Pyramid in San Francisco. When he died in 2017, the New York Times described his “modernist designs (that) helped define the postwar landscape of Los Angeles,” and singled out praise for the 1960 design of the Union 76 gas station in Beverly Hills with its swooping canopy: https://www.laconservancy.org/locations/union-76-gas-station
The New York Times obituary named a selection of Gin Wong’s accomplishments – including “a savings and loan branch in Rancho Mirage, CA, with curved walls made of Mexican black lava rock.”
Preservation Mirage board members were treated to a private tour of the bank building just before the onset of the pandemic.
Do stop and take a closer look next time you’re near the bank and admire the work of one of the top US architects.
The Provident Bank building at 71991 Hwy 111 was opened to the public in 1982. It sits on an elevated site above Hwy 111, at the corner of Magnesia Falls Drive.
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