Still in the inaugural issue of Mississippi Architect, March 1963, which we introduced with Bob Henry’s first editorial, about the architectural profession, yesterday. Today we’ll pass along the first building profile, which I love for many reasons: it’s an R.W. Naef building (now called BancorpSouth) that I have grown to admire over the last several years; second, the article focuses on the site of the building, right across from the new state history museum in the Old Capitol building (the words “historical significance” are actually used–enough to make an old preservationist beam with pure joy!); and third, the mystery of those live oak trees is finally solved–these are now sitting out in front of Hal and Mals, always struggling to pop out of their planters, but we see them in the picture below as newborn babes, still content and happy.
You can read, print, and download the full March 1963 Mississippi Architect in what I hope will be a useful and easy format brought to you by WordPress and Scribd.com
Capitol and State Streets
Winner of an American Institute of Architects Gulf States Regional Honor Award, 1962
R.W. Naef and Associates
M.T. Reed Construction Co.
Frank Lotz Miller, Photos
Savings and Loan Building
TO DESIGN a modern savings and loan association office building that would not compete visually with an old state capitol of historical significance.
This, in summary, is how architects for the award-winning First Federal structure describe a planning problem faced in early project study.
The architects encountered other problems. Most pressing was the value of site location, at the city’s main traffic corner and diagonally across from Mississippi’s Old Capitol, recently restored as a state historical museum.
The site’s proximity to the Old Capitol posed serious design obligations. It was decided early in the design studies that no effort would be made to compete with the beautiful old soft-red brick building, despite the fact that the program demanded at least eight stories.
It was felt any strong color for the new structure would dominate, thus conflict. Therefore, Georgia white marble and blue-black granite were chosen as the principal materials for the exterior. Textural effect was considered. The classic cornices and mouldings of the Old Capitol called for a simple, somewhat smooth, contrasting treatment for the new building.
Area requirements of the rental office floors above the first floor permitted a set-back at the second floor level to avoid the effect of blocking the end of the street. The set-back was softened by the use of the maximum amount of glass on the second floor and with small live oak trees in redwood planters on the first floor roof.
The function of a savings and loan association, though similar to a bank’s operation, is different in one respect. Like a bank it has a banking floor, but unlike a bank, the banking floor is busy only around the first of the month when mortgage payments come due. To make the floor open to the public would exhibit too frequently an almost empty space. Therefore, it was decided that the banking floor should have a minimum of exposure.
To avoid the formidable barrier effect, typical of the first floor, the architects chose a polished blue-black granite exterior finish. The mirror finish of this material reflects the streets scenes, the Old Capitol and the night lights in subdued tones.