City Federal Savings (1964)

City Federal Savings (1964) Photo Courtesy W.A. Sarmiento

Elizabeth, New Jersey

This building shows how the intersection of engineering, sculpture, and art become architecture. Sarmiento's theory of two intersecting hyperbolic paraboloids to form the roof, like a saddle, he termed a 'tetrapode' as it was connected to four steel trusses and bolted to their footings. What became most prominent was the spire that lit the City Federal sign. The structure itself is larger than the space inside, but it allowed the building to serve as a scout unit to see how much the bank could generate in deposits in a neighborhood. If the scout met its goals, it would be moved to the next site and a permanent branch bank would be built on the former scout site.

Photos and Plans: Courtesy W.A. Sarmiento

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