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First Commercial Bank Headquarters


“Clumsy” and “awkward” described the existing 1974 office building which occupied a highly visible site along a major thoroughfare in suburban Birmingham. It had a blunt boxer–like nose that could not simply be covered with a hat or a clock. The Owner’s objective was to create Class A multi-tenant office space, and the building required transformation at three levels: one, to improve overall appearance from adjacent Highway 280; two, to have more appeal and a sense of “place” at the pedestrian level; and three, to bring coherence to the interior.


The biggest challenge was to keep 90% of the structure and still transform its essential proportions and character. Recladding alone was not the answer. The designers had to create an element that made the old building appear new. This was accomplished by introducing a small triangular structure to the building’s nose that integrated the blunt end into the mass. Texture, shadow, depth, and material changes helped transform the recladding into a comprehensive solution, and the brick served as a fabric to neatly fold around the building.


Vision Award for Continued Excellence/Horizon 280 Association
Merit Award/AIA
Energy Conservation Award/American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers
Winner, Design Competition/South Central Bell
Honor Award/AIA
National Energy Conservation Award Honorable Mention/Owens-Coming Fiberglass Corp
Progressive Architecture/Published
Engineering News Record/Published
Southern Building Magazine/Published
New Products and Processes/Published
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