Landeszentral Bank, Gera


This building is situated on the periphery of the historic town centre of Gera. It consists of a main building - containing the banking hall, offices, money processing and administration spaces - vault building, residential block for staff, courtyard and garden. The main building defines an edge to the busy main road and shelters the garden and residential block behind.

The facade of all building elements are clad with large scale green concrete panels with strong horizontal banding that help to create a consistent and coherent whole. The banding also allows for a flexible system of building openings ranging from the windowless vault to large windows of the public spaces. The simple building forms contain generous, naturally lit internal spaces such as the 3-storey entrance hall and complex internal spatial relationships. The architectural design reconciles urban and interior design concerns with stringent security requirements.

The use of concrete as a precious material is a theme that unites the exterior and interior of the building. Green concrete panels are used as a facade cladding material, as a floor finish, for interior wall panels and to create items of built-in furniture. The precast concrete ribbed ceilings relate to the white concrete walls of the courtyard.

English artist Michael Craig Martin was commissioned by the Landeszentralbank to produce an series of wall murals – everyday images of chairs and musical instruments presented on bright, saturated purple and sky blue backgrounds – that play with our traditional heavy associations of bank buildings with colour, humour, and a certain degree of frivolity.

Robin Foster was the Project Architect at David Chipperfield Architects in London responsible for the Landeszentralbank from 1997 to building completion in 2002.

Photography: Stefan Müller, Berlin