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Bank of America Building (Virginia National Bank Building)

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Virginia National Bank Building
1965–1968, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill with Williams and Tazewell and Associates. 1 Commercial Pl.
  • (Jason R. Waicanus)
  • Bank of America Building (Virginia National Bank Building) (Richard Guy Wilson)
  • Bank of America Building (Virginia National Bank Building) (Richard Guy Wilson)

This is Norfolk's finest modern skyscraper and a centerpiece of the city's early downtown redevelopment efforts during the 1960s. The newly formed Virginia National Bank wanted to create a new headquarters that would symbolize its growth into a major statewide financial institution. To accomplish this task, the bank hired the New York office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, an architecture firm with an international reputation, along with Williams and Tazewell and Associates, a local firm. SOM produced a design that, while typical of the later International Style in its geometric exterior grid and flat roof, is distinguished by its threedimensional modeling and careful attention to detail. The precast concrete frame was assembled from T-shaped units and finished in white quartz. It is fully exposed on the exterior, and the corners are cut away to reduce the building's bulk. A glass curtain wall is set several feet behind the frame so that the latter acts as a brise-soleil. The frame is in turn joined to the interior utility core to create virtually uninterrupted floor space. Across East Main Street is a six-and-one-half-story parking garage with a matching quartz finish, designed by SOM to serve the office building. The Virginia National Bank, the product of earlier bank absorptions, merged with the First and Merchants Bank to create Sovran Bank in 1983. Sovran Bank was absorbed by NationsBank in 1991, and NationsBank merged with the Bank of America in 1998. As a result of successive mergers in the 1980s and 1990s, the building is now occupied by Bank of America.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Bank of America Building (Virginia National Bank Building)", [Norfolk, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 401-402.

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