First Western Bank & Trust
Bismarck, North Dakota
A new corporate center on a central corner in downtown Bismarck engages the street and activates the sky through a design focused on the future of banking and the progression towards technology. The First Western Bank & Trust Building connects with its past, the present, and our future. It embodies rigid design rules; while surprises of creativity flow through the clear and set organization.
Past: This building softly forms a connection to the rural environment, recognizing that many Bismarck residents are one or two generations removed from farming and ranching life themselves – similar to the Hoeven Family, who founded and continue to operate the bank. The materials transform with the light, rain and seasons – like a rock on the prairie shimmering in the sun. The integrated landscaping brings the experience of nature to visitors – while in the very heart of Bismarck. The (glu-laminated) wood provides warmth and comfort, while serving as the building’s primary structure. For the Hoeven’s, the views to the State Capital and the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit have special meaning, as those spaces were significant to their family’s work, church and education.
Present: Standing upon the fifth-floor roof deck, you can visually connect with the extents of Bismarck-Mandan: the State Capital Building, the white Cathedral tower, the history of Fort Lincoln and the bluffs of University of Mary.
Future: Planning and product selection enhance the building’s contribution to the future. The expanded metal mesh – screens sunlight, conceals structure and provides integrated branding, all while its complex surface creates interesting reflections and a soft appearance on the façade. The plaza was designed in conjunction with the City of Bismarck’s plans for a future pedestrian way. Looking inside, the teller pods advance the historic understanding of a teller line. Integrated technology makes walls life-sized marketing opportunities. Interior and exterior materials as blacks, whites and similar tones carry a lasting relevance.