Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Phoenix Financial Center, Part 1

Located only a few blocks from where I live is the Phoenix Financial Center, an office complex that is a well known landmark for most Phoenicians. The unusual looking high-rise building pictured here is the centerpiece of this complex and two small, single-story, round pavilions complete the office buildings that make up the whole center. The back of the tower that is facing us in the picture is covered with slit-like windows that are designed to reduce exposure to the full force of the Arizona sun. This unusual design has given rise to nick-names like “the punch-card” building or “the piano roll” building referring either to the old IBM computer punch cards or piano rolls used on old-fashioned player pianos. The three buildings were designed by Wenceslaus Sarmiento, a Peruvian-born American modernist architect. He studied in various places in South America and served as head designer for the Bank Building Corporation of American from 1951 through 1961. After that he founded his own business, Sarmiento Associates based in St. Louis Missouri. The Phoenix Financial Center opened in 1964.

Over the next few days I’ll take you on a little tour of this center and the building that is so prominent on the Phoenix skyline.


Laurie said...

What an interesting building! It reminds me of a sail of a boat.

David -- said...

This building is a Phoenix landmark, indeed, except that now when people refer to it as the "punch-card" building, young people ask "What is a punch card?"

I guess it is a good sign that technology-inspired architecture lasts longer than the technology that inspired it. Similar tot he Capital Records building in Hollywood, which looks like a stack of 45 rpm records.

Pat said...

12 years ago I passed my real estate license test in that building.

It's one of my favorites.

Anonymous said...

Phoenix-based graphic artist Jason Hill is a tremendous advocate for this building. He sells prints and notecards depicting the building on his Web site:

Catalyst said...

I, too, lived only a few blocks from that building for over 10 years when I worked for Channel 12. There was a bar in there somewhere that was "our" station watering hole for several years. I think it's now a Blimpy's.