Bucharest, Romania, 1994 - 1996
Located at the intersection of Calea Grivi]ei and Dacia Boulevard, on a long and narrow site, this bank headquarters was the first building completed by Westfourth Architecture in Bucharest in the mid-1990's.
The restrictive shape of the site and the zoning regulations that limited the buildable area above ground, determined the public functions of the building to be placed underground.. The zoning restrictions also determined that an access alleyway be maintained along the west side of the lot and that the east lot line wall be kept solid to allow the future expansion of the neighboring building. The public, private and vehicular access all occur from the side alleyway.
The banking hall, the largest public space of the institution is located 4.8 meters underground in order to use the entire width of the site without any setback requirements. The ceiling of this hall is at the first floor level thus allowing the public bank lobby to have a double-height space. This configuration permits natural light into the space and makes the bank access at ground level strictly functional. A peripheral skylight running along the length of the western wall brings natural light into offices behind the banking hall. At the level of the eastern property wall, a walkway open to the banking hall connects the employee access lobby with the parking garage at the back of the building. The remaining bank functions are accommodated on three floors above ground and on a setback penthouse housing a cafeteria and a library. A semicircular auditorium occupies the second and third floors on the street side of the building.
The main façade is clad in aluminum panels with solar fins set in front of the windows. The western façade is completely glazed while the eastern property line wall is perforated with glass blocks that allow natural light into circulation corridors at each floor.