When Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company opened a Manhattan branch location at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street in 1954, the building’s award-winning design ushered in a bold new era of bank architecture. SOM’s design dematerialized the bank’s walls with transparent glass facades, cantilevered floors, luminous ceilings, and a street-level vault. These elements symbolically opened a cloistered world more commonly housed behind masonry walls.
SOM revisited the same bank branch a half-century later, renovating and adapting it for retail use. Drawing on archival research and guided by the original design intentions, the contemporary architects preserved or restored primary components including the facade, Bertoia-designed screen, marble columns, and vault door. The building’s exterior was landmarked in 1997, its interior in 2011, and it now stands as an exemplar of adaptive reuse.