Long Beach’s Tower of Strength and Beauty • Long Beach Post


Love it or hate it, the iconic International Tower cannot be ignored—nor should it be.

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Located on 700 E. Ocean Boulevard, this unique representation of a Mid-Century Modern “high-rise” design was launched by developer Henry Sassoon and completed in 1964 (he would go on to be instrumental in developing the Queen Mary as a nostalgic “floating hotel”).

Having already established himself as an entrepreneur in Montreal by constructing rows of homes and an apartment complex on then called McGregor Street, Mr. Sassoon relocated to prestigious Bel Air, California in 1957.

Assembling the architectural team of Carl B. Troedsson and Charles Boldon, along with structural engineer Tung-Yen Lin, he would set in motion a construction project that Sassoon would tout, when completed, as the ‘tallest pre-stressed concrete structure in the world’.


Mr. Lin’s sound structural engineering of the 32-story high-rise allowed the building to take on a façade visually opposite of its internally husky skeleton. It permitted architects Troedsson and Boldon to design a futuristic, airy appearance utilizing floor-to-ceiling aluminum frame glass curtain walls, sliding glass doors and an uninterrupted, flowing metal balcony railing around the building’s circular perimeter.

Locals affectionately (or derisively) have referred to it as the “George Jetson building” (a reference to a 1960s weekly animated sitcom about a space-age family) or simply, “the beer can.” Many years ago a New York Times review said in a brief literary review about mid-century modern design, “Some love it and others simply can’t stand it.”

Actually, it wasn’t until 1984 that the exact phrase “midcentury modern” came into existence. That is when Cara Greenberg coined the phrase for her 1984 book, Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s. However, the ‘modern’ concept of design was well-known in the architectural community for decades earlier (roughly 1933 to 1965, though some would argue the period is specifically limited to 1947 to 1957).


“The birth of midcentury modern was after the war,” says Sian Winship, president of the Southern California Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.

Houses were typically characterized by open floor plans and giant sliding-glass doors, which encouraged people to go outside and be healthy.

Encouraging people to gravitate outside of their domiciles is no doubt what the original design vision intended to produce.

And with the Pacific Ocean as its main backdrop and specifically the Long Beach harbor, International Tower presents a panoramic view that naturally draws a resident outside to take in the dynamic marine splendor.

There is currently a rare opportunity to own one of these unique condominiums in the International Tower.

For more information about DOMA’s current listing in International Tower please visit WillHainlen.com.  Interested in pricing and availability for other downtown properties? Contact us at 562.481.3800 or search at DomaSoCal.com.


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