Manufacturers Hanover Trust – 510 Fifth Avenue

Clear structural composition and carefully designed details characterized this pristine modernist building when it opened in 1954. Surrounded by skyscrapers, this branch for the Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company bank had only four stories, although city zoning regulations would have permitted the erection of a tall structure with rentable upper floors. Instead, the design concept was based on the belief that a less conventional solution would result in a prestige building.

A framework of eight concrete-covered steel columns and beams were used to support reinforced concrete decks that cantilevered on two sides. The curtain wall consisted of aluminum-faced steel sections and glass. The unobstructed view of the vault door and banking rooms from Fifth Avenue indicated a new trend in bank design.

In 2012, SOM renovated and adapted the building for retail use. Drawing on archival research and guided by the original design intentions, SOM preserved and restored primary components including the facade, marble columns, and the vault door. The building’s exterior was landmarked in 1997, its interior in 2011, and it now stands as an exemplar of adaptive reuse.