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Enterprise Center (Markel Building)

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Markel Building
1966, Haig Jamgochian. 5310 Markel Dr. (W. Broad St. to Willow Lawn Dr., right on to Markel Dr.)
  • Enterprise Center (Markel Building) (Pierre Courtois)
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

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.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Enterprise Center (Markel Building)", [Richmond, 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, 294-294.

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