Glendale Federal Savings, Glendale
As head designer for the Bank Building and Equipment Corporation of America, Peruvian-born architect W. A. Sarmiento designed hundreds of Modern-style bank buildings all over the country. One of the most renowned and best-loved is right here, in Glendale: the Glendale Federal Savings and Loan building on Brand Boulevard.
Glendale Federal founder and president J. E. Hoeft wanted an ambitious design for his bank’s new headquarters, something not only representative of West Coast Modernism, but of his burgeoning hometown. He offered a prime site at the corner of Lexington and Brand, and Sarmiento delivered a dynamic design that would prove to be an icon of Southern California Modernism.
Completed in 1959, the Glendale Federal Savings building features a vertical, dramatically angled red stair/elevator tower fronting the main volume, which is a rectangular ten story high-rise.
The tower is actually lifted above the building’s first floor, allowing the mezzanine level to be lit with natural sunlight.
The building’s many windows are shaded by distinctive blue enameled steel louvers which use solar power to pivot throughout the day. Glendale Federal Savings is a colorful and evocative building that retains its original form, finishes, and character. It remains a stunning example of the forward-looking Modernism that Sarmiento used to such great effect in his bank buildings.