Wachovia Bank and Trust
129 West Trade Street
One of the most prominent examples of Modernism in
downtown Charlotte is the Wachovia Bank and Trust Building, located at
129 West Trade Street. Designed by A.G. Odell and completed in 1958, the
bank building is significant as the oldest modernist high-rise in the city
with a good degree of integrity, and as an example of A.G. Odell’s early
building faces north at the corner of West Trade and Church Streets.
The lot slopes to the south. When it was built, the building dominated
West Trade Street, towering over neighboring low-rise commercial buildings.
Today, high rises have sprung up to the west, east, and north of the
building, yet the building remains generally un-obscured. The building’s
first floor is comprised of a glass lobby entrance and glass and black
marble storefronts that appear to have been re-worked over the years.
|Above the ground floor, a
blank concrete panel clad second-story is cantilevered over the ground
floor, providing shelter for the ground floor entrances. Originally
the second story was unadorned, the massive concrete panel providing a
accenting belt course for the base of the building. The concrete
panels extend upwards, forming a guardrail wall for a terrace on the
third floor. A simple metal handrail tops the low wall. Sometime
after 1998, several round windows were cut into second story's blank
concrete panels and T-shaped decorative brackets were added to the panels.
These decorative elements and the re-worked store fronts appear to be the
only significant changes made to the exterior of the building.
The third floor is clad completely in windows on
the front and west elevations, the most public sides of the building.
The upper stories cantilever over the third story on the facade and are
flush with the glass walls on the west elevation. The narrow terrace
extends along the west elevation, across the facade, and becomes a wide open
area in front of the buildings concrete paneled elevator tower that extends
from the building's east elevation and is set back from the facade.
The building's upper thirteen stories are six bays
wide and twenty bays deep, and are identical in design and features.
Undivided fixed sash are separated by convex angular concrete panels.
The same panels run in bands above and below the windows, separated by flat
panels. The bands are offset producing a rhythmic, textured surface.
The building is topped by tall open bays, accenting the fenestration and
disguising the mechanical apparati on the roof.
The rear elevation is covered with the same angled
concrete panels found on the facade and west elevations. However,
fenestration is limited to a single opening on each floor offset from the
center. The generally blank back wall encloses an elevator shaft and
The elevator tower, located on the east elevation,
is clad in large, flat concrete panels. On the front elevation of the
elevator tower the concrete panels are set at a concave angle.
|This 1966 photograph shows the
Wachovia Bank and Trust Company Building near the center and top of the