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One Valley Square

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1974–1976, S. I. Morris. In block bordered by Summers, Lee, Laidley, and Washington sts.
  • Plaza sculpture
  • One Valley Square
  • One Valley Square
  • One Valley Square
  • One Valley Square

“Not since the invention of the stop sign has the octagon had it so good.” A Charleston newspaper reporter thus captured the theme of this sixteen-story bank and office complex when the Kanawha Valley Bank (now One Valley Bank) opened at its new location. Not only the building itself, but also interior planters, desks, and tables are octagons (or at least polygons). In the sixth-floor boardroom, bank directors meet around an octagonal table that rests on an octagonal carpet.

Typical of late-twentieth-century high-rise architecture, the tower is not divided into base, shaft, and capital. Instead, an undifferentiated window wall of bronze glass, with bronze anodized aluminum mullions and spandrels, rises in a continuum from bottom to top. A roughcast bronze sculpture by Jimilu Mason, unveiled in 1981, dominates the angular plaza (paved in octagonal tiles). Titled Cabriole, it depicts three male dancers suspended over a shallow pool at a 45-degree angle and provides a striking contrast to the smooth glazed walls of the tower behind. Both the architect and the developer, Gerald D. Hines, hailed from Houston, where the architect designed the Houston Astrodome.

Writing Credits

Author: 
S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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