Liberty National Bank and Trust Co. (1956-1960)

Liberty National Bank and Trust Co. (1956-1960) Photos by wblo on flickr

Louisville, Kentucky

In this six story building in downtown Louisville, W.A. Sarmiento of the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation designed what is considered to be the first example of curtain wall construction in the city.  Completed in 1960, the ultra modern headquarters for Liberty National Bank and Trust Co. brought architectural distinction back to this neighborhood.  The building is setback from the street by thirty feet with a mini-modernist plaza, forming an open grass courtyard.  Rectangular volumes of differing sizes are placed at both ends of the curtain wall, to provide visual anchors and endpoints to both the curtain wall and the building envelope.  Sarmiento remarked that the recessed façade to allow the building more prominence from the street and allow the plaza were the best design aspects for this building.

The main façade is primarily composed of granite and glass panels set into a framework of metal.  The large glass curtain wall is divided into a pattern of twenty two bays, further divided equally into four five-foot wide bays.  The majority of the fenestration is filled with glass for transparency and a minor amount of colored panels to both break-up the glass wall and form horizontal ribbons in an otherwise vertical oriented grid.

In a 2002-03 renovation, the dramatic free-floating stainless-steel staircase (a Sarmiento design hallmark) was removed.  The local firm involved in the project was Wagner & Potts.

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See photos on emporis.com.

Photo Credit

Photos by wblo on flickr
Photo #17: Historic photo provided courtesy W.A. Sarmiento.