A Former Bank Building that Survived Two Fires Now Is a Mixed-use Marvel in Downtown Dallas

Named one of the 20 best structures in Dallas by Dallas Morning News architectural critic Mark Lamster, 1217 Main Street—once a 1950s-era bank building—has been transformed into a mixed-use architectural gem in downtown Dallas. Designed by 5G Studio Collaborative, Dallas, the adaptive reuse marvel features a colorful handmade ceramic perimeter artistically framing a ground-level storefront and 4-story curtainwall system with Solarban 90 Starphire glass from Vitro Architectural Glass.

Josh Allen, partner, 5G Studio Collaborative, said it was critical for the six-colored blue mosaic façade, which was designed by well-known artist and sculptor Jorge Pardo, to be paired with the right glass system. “Numerous options were considered and after reviewing them all in combination with the artistic tile on the building. Solarban 90 Starphire [glass] was selected because of its clarity, reflection and lack of color,” he explains.

Passersby can observe the flurry of activity within the ground floor’s bakery, café and commissary, and upper four levels of office space through the floor-to-window Solarban 90 Starphire glass. The top floor also features exterior balconies.

Starphire Ultra?Clear low-iron glass offers industry-leading clarity while Solarban 90 glass delivers high-performance solar control. United in a standard one-inch insulating glass unit (IGU), they block 77 percent of the sun’s heat energy and achieve a crystal-clear aesthetic with visible light transmittance (VLT) of 54 percent. “This allowed us to provide a building that is both alluring and efficient,” Allen adds. 

Complementing the seamless aesthetic, the individual ceramic tiles are held together with no visible control or expansion joints, panel or module seams. “To achieve this, a custom rainscreen system was developed, which is a grid of vertical and horizontal aluminum t-shaped extrusions that support the 36,215 glazed ceramic tiles,” Allen explains.

The original 1958 Guardian Savings Bank survived two fires in the last couple of decades. Preserving the core and shell of the historical building, the design team transformed the dilapidated structure into an urban revitalization success. Passersby can observe the flurry of activity within the ground floor’s bakery, café and commissary, and upper four levels of office space through the floor-to-window Solarban 90 Starphire glass. The top floor also features exterior balconies.

As a striking blend of art and architecture, Allen is happy to report the project achieved its intended vision and has become an icon in downtown Dallas with its unique design. 

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