lunes, 4 de junio de 2012

first national bank building

address: 100 south biscayne boulevard, miami, united states
architects: weed johnson associates
date: 1957

Designed for First National Bank of Miami, 100 South Biscayne was the first major new office building built in Downtown since the A. I. DuPont Building in 1939, and filled a prestigious slot at the south end of Miami´s bayfront skyline. The decision to keep the new headquarters Downtown indicates the urban core´s symbolic importance even as suburban growth challenged its dominance in the postwar years.

Following postwar trends in commercial architecture, the steel-framed tower was raised over a block-long pedestal that provided ample room for parking, retail space, and a banking lobby. Facing Biscayne Boulevard, the pedestal presented a sheer marble facade that intentionally obscured the 3-story bank lobby, wich opened north to SE First Street and south to SE Second Street. Behind it, the 600-car parking garage was concealed by a grid of blue aluminium struts. Above, the slender 15-story tower captures views to Biscayne Bay and the Miami River. Broad cantilevered precast-concrete sunshades, calibrated to protect the south, east, and north facades, are the tower´s defining feature.

When the bank moved to new headquarters in the mid-1980s, an extensive renovation made the building more pedestrian-friendly. Windows were cut into the pedestal´s Biscayne Boulevard facade, and a spacious shopping arcade was carved from the banking hall, reviving Downtown´s pre-World War II arcade tradition. The arcade connects SE First Street with SE Second Street, aligning with the plaza of the Wachovia Financial Center across SE Second Street, while also providing an entrance from the boulevard. As part of the effort to introduce night lighting to the Downtown skyline, touched off by the popularity of International Place and the Miami Line, the edges of the tower´s sunshades were lined with continuous withe neon in the 1990s.

Allan T. Shulman, Randall C. Robinson Jr., James F. Donnelly.

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