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Enterprise Center (Markel Building)
The Markel Corporation, an insurance company, set up business in downtown Richmond in the 1930s. When the company decided to move its business to the county, Richmond architect Haig Jamgochian was commissioned to design a unique building. Finished in 1966, the result is one of the most eye-catching, idiosyncratic modern buildings on all of Broad Street, and perhaps in all of the Richmond area. The Markel Building's shape may have been influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's circular Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The steel and concrete structural system was clad in an aluminum skin, crinkled by rubber mallet–wielding workers. Today the building appears as a charismatic modern design from a period when architects were searching for innovative materials and shapes. A reaction to the strait-laced glass box, the Markel Building symbolized a departure from the somber, grid-clad conformity of the corporate world.
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