AKA: Cuningham Group Architects, Branch Office, Camelback East Village, Phoenix, AZ

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - banks (buildings)

Designers: Pereira and Luckman, Architects, Engineers and Planners (firm); Charles Irving Luckman Sr. (architect); William Leonard Pereira (architect)

Dates: constructed 1950-1951

2 stories, total floor area: 6,000 sq. ft.

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5001 East Washington Street
Camelback East Village, Phoenix, AZ 85034

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Building History

The Farmers and Stockmens Bank formed in 1950, and commissioned the Los Angeles architectural firm of Pereira and Luckman to design a signature headquarters for the new company. They developed a building with a Regional Modern character, one that mixed International Style Modernism with influences of Southwestern American Indian design. The bank operated independently until 1957, when it consolidated with the with the Bank of Douglas in 1957. After subsequent mergers, other banks occupied the space since 1957, the final tenant being the Bank of America, that closed the branch in 2012.

A press release for the Jokake Companies, a real estate firm owned by Mike and Gary Smith, indicated that this firm purchased the bank "...in partnership with the city of Phoenix in 2015." (See the Jokake Companies.com, "Architects to take over historic Phoenix building," published 11/20/2017, accessed 06/18/2018.) The Minneapolis-based Cuningham Group Architects signed a lease for the former bank in 2016. The Smiths restored its exterior before the Cuningham Group redesigned the gutted interior to suit its needs. The Jokake web site stated of the remodeling: "Cuningham Group took charge of the interior design to bring it up to scratch to suit their working needs. ‘The historic building interior had been completely removed by previous owners, so with our interior build out, we started with an empty shell – only the historic stone bank vault remained,’ says Pete Mikelson, Senior Associate at Cuningham Group.‘The open and flexible volume of the building interior was already ideal for a contemporary work place. Our goal was to preserve that, and augment with simple, contemporary design moves that respected the original architecture. The linear forms of the millwork, materials palette and furniture pieces were all intended to create an “updated mid-century modern” feel,’ he says. The light flooded, high-ceilinged former bank lobby provided open space for meeting and collaborating, while the mezzanine level created a more private area for work stations and an enclosed glass box which Cuningham Group added for client meetings. The architects converted the stone-walled bank vault into different spaces, while preserving the historic vault door and adding tubular skylights to bring natural light into the otherwise solidly sealed space." (See the Jokake Companies.com, "Bank statement: a mid-century modern landmark finds a new lease on life," published 11/20/2017, accessed 06/14/2018.)

The Cuningham web site noted the building's Regional Modern qualities: "The original design effectively blends modern architecture with regional influences, leveraging natural daylight with its floor-to-ceiling aluminum and glass curtain walls. Calling to mind a kiva, a room utilized by Native Americans for ceremonies, which were often round with upward-sloping walls, the circular bank vault is built from large desert stones set irregularly into wide concrete mortar joints. This material is carried throughout the building’s interior and exterior accent walls. The blending of both modern and international architecture was unique and influenced the designs of other banks in the region. Unfortunately, poorly-designed alterations were made to the building throughout the years, diminishing the original design’s integrity. Stucco panels had replaced several of the glass panels in the front of the building and large portions of the original stone flooring were removed." (See Cuningham Group Architects.com, "The Historic Farmers & Stockmens Bank building is now home to Cuningham Group Phoenix," published 04/17/2017, accessed 06/14/2018.) The bank was a literal intersection of the two diverse, geometric elements, the round kiva-type building connected to one corner of the rectangular Modern box.

Building Notes

The Farmers and Stockmens Bank was landmarked by the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office.


The Jokake Companies renovated the building's exterior in 2015-2016 to attract tenants who would then remodel the interior. Cuningham Group Architects renovated the space in 2017 to suit the needs of its 20-person Phoenix office. It said of the interior renovation: "The restoration returned the full-height glass panels to their original design. The stunning mezzanine, which overlooks the original two-story bank lobby, now features a clean, glass-surround video conference room. It boasts extraordinary views down to the main space and out to the surrounding desert landscape.We also upgraded the 1951 building to meet current sustainable standards and expectations. Interior horizontal solar-control devices were added, bouncing sunlight up to the ceiling to push natural light deep into the interior space. Tubular daylight devices were installed in the vault to provide natural daylight to an otherwise artificially-lit space. Employees are able to access tunable lights creating a more productive work environment by maintaining the circadian rhythm of employees. Motorized shades block harsh sun in early morning and late afternoon. Adjustable light shelves bounce light to the ceiling to create a better day-lit space and to cut off direct sun. Fans support air distribution and circulation, and energy monitoring records and displays sub-meter energy use." (See Cuningham Group Architects.com, "The Historic Farmers & Stockmens Bank building is now home to Cuningham Group Phoenix," published 04/17/2017, accessed 06/14/2018.)

PCAD id: 22124