We take a trip back to March, 1970 for this week's Epstein Throwback Thursday. A journey that takes us to South Bend, Indiana for the opening of the 14-story St. Joseph Bank Building. Located at the corner of what is now Jefferson and St. Joseph streets, this Epstein designed and engineered high-rise was at the time South Bend's tallest all-electric building, meaning the heating and cooling systems were designed to allowed for individual/tenant based year-round control of heat and air conditioning.
This 130,000 square foot office building featured a concrete structure with bronze anodized louvers and sun resistant thermal insulating glass. These louvers were unique for late 60s/early 70s office building construction and they served as the fresh air intake for the perimeter incremental air conditioning units. This air cooling technique was used for many years in apartment building construction and was relatively new to high-rise office developments in 1970. This HVAC design reduced the need for an on-site central mechanical plant which itself requires boilers, compressors and fans, meaning that the St. Joseph Bank could maximize office floorplate. Additionally, the glazing for the St. Joseph Bank Building featured solar bronze heat resistant glass which was double-paned for optimum thermal insulation.
If you are curious, the St. Joseph Bank Building still stands, although it's now home to Key Bank, (St. Joseph Bank through a series of transitions/takeovers eventually became Key) and is the 2nd tallest building in South Bend. Some renovation and landscape plaza work has been done on this building in the last few years, including the removal of the drive through banking feature seen here. But otherwise the building looks much like it did in 1970 – a simple, efficient and well detailed modern high-rise.