Displaying items by tag: post 1950

Los Angeles, California

This structure was designed by architect W.A. Sarmiento of the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation of America and has remained relatively unchanged since its construction. Its design, an inverted trapezoid over a transparent cube, closely resembles the design for The Firestone Bank in Akron, Ohio, also completed in 1958 and some elements of the American Investment Co. of Illinois in Clayton, Missouri (1955). The building currently operates as Chase Bank and is known as the Bakewell Building.

Photo credit: Kirk Huffaker

Published in California

Reno, Nevada

The association was marking its 70th year with the announcement of a new building designed by the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation. The financial institution was stated to be the oldest in the state.

The progressive design of the new five story building was said to be the most modern office structure in the area. Structural design called for cement and steel construction, making it completely fireproof. In its high desert location, the latest features were included in heating air conditioning equipment as well as windows completely covered with vertical louvers to protect them from the desert sun. The vertical aluminum louvers on the exterior are electronically controlled, moving with the sun, insuring that there will not be glare inside the building. One end of the building is a vertical mass, serving as a solid grounding element for which a sign that spells out U-N-I-O-N F-E-D-E-R-A-L attached letter by letter vertically down the tower, creating a parallel view to the louvers.

Published in Nevada

Great Falls, Montana

No further information is available.

Published in Montana

Billings, Montana

Designed by the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation, this three-story structure was reported to be the most modern bank in Montana when it was completed. It was built with expansion in mind, allowing elevators and HVAC systems to be added onto up to ten stories in the future. Security Trust and Savings Bank occupied the first and second floors while additional space was built to be leased.

The exterior finish of the building was granite and brick on the ground floor and Indiana limestone on the second and third stories. The new building facilitated the move of Security Trust and Savings from the building they had occupied since 1920 and had expanded in 1930 and 1948 to accommodate growth. However, after First Interstate Bank acquired Security Trust and Savings in 1971, they replaced the c. 1956 structure with the current First Interstate Bank Building, which is the tallest building in the state of Montana.

Published in Montana
Pascagoula – Moss Point Bank (Hancock Bank)
3207 Magnolia St.
Pascagoula, Mississippi
Date of Construction: 1961
Architect: Bank Building & Equipment Corp. of America
Designation: None

Only a few details separated the original concept of the Pascagoula-Moss Point Bank from the final product. As conceived, a four-story building would be anchored by a fire red brick corner tower, displaying a colorful blade sign for the bank. Each of the two main street facades were to be largely covered with glass and sets of window louvers to block the southern sun. On one of the main facades, a decorative pillow-top like pattern was portrayed atop the building with dots along the façade. The first floor was shown to be completely transparent with all glass.

The only changes to the original plan may have been the omission of the decorative corner-mounted blade sign. Alterations are also likely to have been made to the building's exterior since its construction including painting it a cream color and removing the window louvers, which has been common due to maintenance issues. To exacerbate issues here, the building was damaged by the massive inland storm surge associated with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. For several years after that, it was closed for renovations but was likely not substantially changed further on the exterior.

It's use as a branch of Hancock Bank has been maintained and is open again today.

Photo credit: Kirk Huffaker, David Preziosi

Published in Mississippi

Columbus, Mississippi

The Bank Building & Equipment Corporation had architect Charles B. Guariglia design this four story structure for the National Bank of Commerce in Columbus. The architecture of the building has two tendencies. One is to draw you in by directing your path to where the "banks" of windows and doors are located in the building, marking the entry points. The second tendency is that of drawing your eye vertically up. While the thick, cantilevered roof may seem to be too heavy for the structure, the system of thin horizontal arms, reach up and out to support and hold it in place.

After the National Bank of Commerce completed this structure, they relocated here from their previous quarters built in 1913. This building is currently being used by Cadence Bank.

Photo and Research credit: Sam Kaye

Published in Mississippi

Columbus, Mississippi

Perry C. Langston was the lead architect for the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation on this design for the Merchants & Farmers Bank. What resulted was a departure for Langston in style and materials from his previous documented work in the A.G. Gaston Building. In the Merchants & Farmers Bank, Langston brought a simple, yet dignified brand of New Formalism to Columbus using attractive, and commonly affordable materials for the era. A few architectural accents such as the long vertical striations on the main mass and the double-cut, horizontal panels on the street elevation of the smaller mass provide relief to an otherwise hulking block. Whimsical modern touches such as the original flashbulb-style sign and cantilevered entrance have been replaced during the mansardization era.

When this building was completed, Merchants & Farmers moved here from the original building they constructed in 1903, across the street from the original National Bank of Commerce. Merchants & Farmers changed their name to Unisouth and was later acquired by Trustmark, under which name this building still operates.

Photo and Research credit: Sam Kaye

Published in Mississippi

Columbus, Mississippi

This building designed by the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation was the original location of First Federal Savings & Loan.  The ground floor storefront level has likely been altered with only a new door and the awning.  The complete window wall divided by a grid of aluminum with alternating solid, colored panels and glass is a signature architectural feature of the architects of the corporation.  With growth of the bank, they later built a larger freestanding building and relocated, before eventually merging with National Bank of Commerce.

Photo and Research credit:  Sam Kaye

Published in Mississippi

Minneapolis, Minnesota

This bank branch presents a simple façade with a transparent entry of four doors. Once inside, the interior ultra-modern interior showcased modern materials and bright colors that the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation employed, even on small buildings. Conical ceiling lights appear as if they are beaming light directly to a dark-colored vinyl or tile floor inset with small white circles. All columns are encased in colors while wood case goods are placed throughout for use by tellers, customers, and office personnel.

Published in Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

This thirteen story building designed by the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation of America was started in 1968 and completed in 1969.  In 1972, an addition on the Marquette Avenue side was completed including one level of retail, seven levels of parking space, and five levels of office space.

As part of the Minneapolis skyway system, Midwest Plaza is connected to The Metro Apartments, the Medical Arts Building, and the IDS Center.  The 416,000 square foot building is considered today to be Class B space but is 97 percent leased.  This building was the home of the fictional WJM-TV of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, a classic American situation comedy from the 1970s.

More information: 

See photos on emporis.com.

Published in Minnesota

Duluth, Minnesota

Completed in 1956, this design by the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation gave Duluth their first modern high-rise at 10 stories.  The building was forecast to cost in excess of $3 million and provided room for growth and drive-in operations.  First and American National Bank occupied the first two stories of the 115,000 square foot new building when they moved across the street from their former location.  The local supervising architect for the projects was Thomas J. Shefchik & Assoc.  The building currently operates in part as Wells Fargo. 

More information: 

See photos on emporis.com.

Published in Minnesota

Kalamazoo, Michigan

No further information is available.

Published in Michigan

Battle Creek, Michigan

This building is a two-story block with a prominent neon blade sign. As designed by the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation for Calhoun Federal Savings & Loan Association, its exterior displays stacked stone with a window wall storefront the steps back to a double entry door. The second story is angled back to dip underneath the roofline's cornice. On the interior, there is rounded teller desk, striped tile floor, and modern furnishings.

Published in Michigan

Springfield, Massachusetts

In 1959, a new four-story building designed by the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation was announced to be built on Main Street.

Published in Massachusetts

Springfield, Massachusetts

No further information is available.

Published in Massachusetts
Perpetual Building Association
8700 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, Maryland
Date of Construction: 1958
Architect: W.G. Knoebel
(chief architect) for Bank Building & Equipment Corporation of America; Robert O. Scholz, local architect, Washington, D.C.
Designation: None

Washington D.C. had an explosion of growth following World War II, that necessitated five times the average investment in building and loans than the rest of the country. It was in this environment that the Perpetual Building Association became the Washington, D.C. area's largest savings and loan. The role of Perpetual in both D.C. and suburban mortgage lending, dwarfed that of DC's largest banks let alone the two smaller banks that existed.

Perpetual's general real estate loan activity was restricted to a radius within 50 miles of its branches. Furthermore, Perpetual's Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loans were subject to a 100-mile radius. Because of the economic trend favoring the Maryland suburbs, it is predictable that Perpetual would have issued more loans in Maryland than D.C. It is particularly likely that a significant portion of the Montgomery County mortgages were focused on the Silver Spring area, since one of Perpetual's two Montgomery County branches was located in Silver Spring, an area of intensive postwar growth. Until 1980, the Silver Spring location was one of a four suburban branch offices.

With the significant influence that Perpetual built up in the region, the association began to also become a dominant force in changing social policy by setting an example. As an example of this, Perpetual was the first savings and loan to establish policy to make color-blind loans, meaning they would provide loans to African-Americans to purchase homes in any neighborhood, including all or partially-white neighborhoods in the D.C. area, whereas other associations feared to do so. As such an institution, they became a dominant force in D.C. suburban and home finance, particularly in the suburbs where their role became greater than banks.

In addition, Perpetual was the first S&L in the D.C. area to appoint an African-American to its Board of Directors, William S. Harps.  Even into the 1960s, Perpetual was the lead S&L urging others to take a more active role in solving "urban problems," and which they accomplished under Perpetual's leadership.

The Silver Spring Perpetual was at the center of much of this activity. The structure was built to not only handle the amount of business in the growing suburban communities, but also to represent the economic status of it in order to attract customers.

As a branch office, it represented a new building type for Montgomery County. But by establishing a recognizable design for its bank buildings with the assistance of the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation of America, Perpetual created a recognizable, branded design beyond logos and signage.

By 1959, despite a $10 million increase in assets, Perpetual dropped from being the fourth to the fifth largest savings and loan in the country. Even by 1960, Perpetual was one of only about 12% of savings and loans that had branch offices. Perpetual remained the largest savings and loan in the east until 1963 when it was overtaken by Detroit savings and loan.

Design

Perpetual wanted to take on the same pioneering role in banking architecture that they had in regional S&L finance and social change. Enlisting the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation, the era's most recognizable name for designing unique structures for the financial industry, collaborated with Washington, D.C. architect Robert O. Scholz who assisted in designing Perpetual's signature buildings. The Robert O. Scholz Company also served as contractor for the project.

Though it was in the planning stages since 1956, the Silver Spring branch office opened to the public in January 1958 with the branded style of the institution but with a few unique features for this location. From it's opening, the $1.5 million structure served as a visual anchor in the community at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Cameron Street. Constructed of steel and granite, Perpetual is one of the monumental structures of the city. In detail, the building is Geometric Modern style with influence of Classical, Art Deco, and Egyptian Revival styles.

The exterior is sheathed by highly polished carnelian granite (formed 2 billion years ago), diamond gray and pink granite, Indiana limestone, roseate and Tennessee gray marble, and detailed by brushed aluminum, and green-tinted, trapezoidal-shaped, windows, including one of the earliest uses of the "Twindow."

The success of the Perpetual Building Association design is demonstrated by the company's repeated use of the common design between 1953 and 1965. Using the same guiding architectural principles, designers at the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation utilized new material technology to streamline the design, perfecting the planning and construction process for Perpetual.

Perpetual regularly utilized its signature buildings in its advertisements, including one that advertised the opening of the Silver Spring facility with several images of the exterior and interior. In addition, the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation also utilized Perpetual Building Association structures in advertising in several national publications.

By 1965, Perpetual had six branches offices, in addition to the main building at 11th and E Streets, NW. The six branches included somewhat scaled down replicas of the main office building in Bethesda, Silver Spring, District Heights, and in the Prince George's Plaza area. In addition, they had established branch offices in midtown Washington and Anacostia, both of which had been completely rebuilt or renovated. At its height, Perpetual came to have nine branches in all, over half of which employed the Perpetual brand architecture, since later branches had been acquired rather than designed and built.

Revitalized Downtown

The Silver Spring Perpetual Building Association was among only two built (and still existing) buildings and three prospective (never built) office buildings celebrated by an aerial photograph of downtown Silver Spring prominently located in a 1964 municipal annual report. The photograph suggests that the Perpetual and Guardian buildings helped attract commercial office construction, an important goal of the 1957 Silver Spring Business District master plan, thus keeping downtown vibrant.

The Bethesda Perpetual Building Association (1956) like its Silver Spring sibling, was a pioneering effort that contributed to a subsequent proliferation of office construction. On a side note, downtown Bethesda had very few commercial buildings of any size until Perpetual was constructed. However, the Bethesda Perpetual was eventually incorporated into a new development which has forever altered its integrity and obscured one of its facades.

A Landmark

The Modern Movement in Maryland, University of Maryland, says, "As a pristine and quite superior example of the statewide and national output of the BB&E Corporation...PAB [Perpetual Building Association] should be preserved...one of the best examples of commercial modernism from the 1950s in the Mid-Atlantic region...the best of its kind in the Maryland suburbs...PAB should be designated and protected."

In their review and discussion of the significance of Perpetual, the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission determined that a structure doesn't have to be one of any number of so-called "branded" buildings to have local significance. Whether it is one of 12,000 McDonald's restaurants or in this case, one of the original four Perpetual Building Association structures that still remains extant. Each is judged on a case-by-case basis in context, not one against the other to judge which is more important for preservation.

Presently no Silver Spring office building has been landmarked, and considerable testimony has been introduced that the Perpetual Building Association is an excellent candidate for designation. The building retains a high level of original integrity. The Perpetual Building Association warrants protection from demolition because the 1950's structure contributes an important type of architecture, sense of place, and history to Silver Spring.

The Perpetual institution and its descendants through mergers and acquisitions now including SunTrust Bank, have occupied the building continuously for over 50 years.

Photo and Research credit: Marcie Stickle and George French, Silver Spring Historical Society.

Photo credit:

Photos #29-32: Perpetual Building Association 1961, Evening Star, Washingtonian Division, D.C. Public Library, Washington, D.C.

More information:

"Fate of Perpetual building belies name: As golden anniversary nears, postwar International-style edifice is slated to be razed" by Jerry McCoy

Published in Maryland

Prince Georges County, Maryland

The Prince Georges Plaza branch of Perpetual Building Association was also located in Prince Georges County, Maryland outside of Washington, D.C. and was completed in 1965. As in several of the other designs by Bank Building & Equipment Corporation for Perpetual structures, the main building was rectangular in shape, exterior materials included some masonry, including the limestone trim, and the trapezoidal windows are used around the first floor. But the Prince Georges County structure uses steel as a sheathing material for the spandrels between windows for the first time. As the design evolved, new materials became more readily available, and its highly possible that Perpetual Building Association was seeking methods to better efficiency and to reduce cost so replacing stone with the steel sheathing was a way the companies continued to streamline the design.

Photo and Research credit: Marcie Stickle and George French, Silver Spring Historical Society.

Published in Maryland

District Heights, Maryland

The District Heights branch in Prince Georges County of Perpetual Building Association was completed in 1963. Among the branded Perpetual Building Association structures, it was the smallest designed by the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation, being a two-story cube. The main building material was brick with limestone trim. However, the building has been demolished so it is only upon assumption that the other building materials are similar to other Perpetual structures, such as polished granite around the entrance, and different types of masonry as the exterior sheathing. The signature trapezoidal windows are present on this building. An auditorium on the second story and a drive through were also available to customers. This was probably the best of example of where Perpetual did not require a larger building to serve as a branch, though it was likely larger than a high percentage of branches being built by other banks and savings and loans at the time.

Photo and Research credit: Marcie Stickle and George French, Silver Spring Historical Society.

Published in Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland

No further information is available.

Published in Maryland

Bethesda, Maryland

The Bethesda Perpetual Building Association structure is one of the association's metro-area buildings that went beyond a simple logo and signage to use the building's architecture to brand and promote a complete aesthetic to their customers. As the designs by the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation of America evolved, the buildings used different materials and incorporated new details. However, the Bethesda Perpetual Building Association exhibits the branded rectangular massing, dark colored base and light colored upper story, and an equally, rhythmic grid of vertically and horizontally placed double-windows. Where the Perpetual brand intersects signature elements of the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation, is in the green colored panels between windows on the grid.

Photo and Research credit: Marcie Stickle and George French, Silver Spring Historical Society.

Published in Maryland
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