Headquarter of General Credit Bank, Bratislava
Ján Bahna, Ľubomír Závodný, Igor Palčo, Miloš Juráni
1996

The VÚB Centre is more ubiquitous in the urban environment than any other building. It helps solve orientation problems, emphasises directions by its wings, and makes the town centre present even among the tenement housing of Petržalka. The building completes the hitherto unfinished surroundings. The harmonic height of its compact build concludes the interrupted Páričkova Street and indefinite Mlynské Nivy. It determines the area of a whole street block by its three wings. The 24-storey cylinder mass of the ellipse-shaped tower is erected on two wings meeting at the crossing of Karadžičova Street and Mlynské Nivy. The main entrance is situated in the base of the tower. The eased ground floor consists of the large hall and a gallery propped up by eight pillars of an ellipse cross-section. The columns pass high through three representative storeys of the bank. The piano nobile is developed on the ground floor with a meeting room and the entry to the offices of top management. One floor up, there is the entrance to the functional managers' offices and the canteen. In the frontal arch of the ellipse, there is a café for employees with the sophisticated view of the main entrance in the floor. Most storeys of the tower house standard banking administration. Large-space offices are located in the frontal arch of the ellipse-shaped ground plan. Side spaces create management offices, and the rectangular back part of the tower is a communication core with two staircases and six lifts. The high-rising tower is characterised by its convincing symmetrical composition and the exceptional integration of the ellipse into the large space through its disposition and external shaping. The smooth body of the cylinder is decorated by a slightly inserted facade in the north part that passes through four floors. The insert is emphasised by a simple vertical stone line and is one of the intentional interruptions of facades that old modernity would leave unnoticed as a stereotype. The last floor, the 24th, is an exception to the current scheme. It houses a swimming pool, and its equipment and provides an amazing view of the whole city. The most attractive face of the building is turned to Páričkova Steet. On the ground floor, there is the branch office of the bank that is the only part of the building open to public. The facade involves some inconspicuous hints to the well-known banking building typical of Bratislava. The wing in front of the bus station hides some less important offices, supporting functions and the entrance to underground garages. Expressive fashionable stripes appear on the facade. In the wing on Mlynské Nivy Street, there are offices and a canteen. The facade uses the same stripes, changing between light grey and dark grey stone facing. The group of three wings encircles the park of the internal atrium with glass pyramids. The underground part of the centre hides garages and also the typical mysterious banking rooms - safes, accesses ways, and the computer centre of the building. The night illumination of the building is a pleasant experience full of surprises. The blue neon lights situated in the upper parts of windows are amazing. The house seems like it has lost its mass and appears to be just an illusion of a miraculous laser show.


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