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Modesto Commerce Bank by Mark Horton Architecture
All images courtesy Mark Horton Architecture

Modesto Commerce Bank
4204 Dale Road, Modesto
Tel: 209-522-7286
Designer: Mark Horton Architecture

Modesto Commerce Bank’s newest branch provides a provocative counterpoint to its low-key, exurban setting. Located at the edge of an expanding new community in California’s Central Valley, the branch is shaped by the area’s auto-centric lifestyle and hot climate. For San Francisco–based architect Mark Horton, the requirement for covered parking and drive-through bays became an opportunity to enact a singular gesture that would give the building a strong identity rooted in the region’s history and landscape.

Two simple volumes—a glass-enclosed public banking hall and an opaque, terrazzo-clad operations space—accommodate the branch’s central functions. The offset volumes join along the transaction counter, the juncture between public and secure realms. A continuous “origami” roof hovers above and reaches outward to shelter both interior and exterior service areas, while an integrated photovoltaic laminate system harvests the region’s intense sun, fulfilling 60 percent of the building’s energy needs. The folded roof and its supporting tree-like columns echo the surrounding landscape and the almond orchards that once thrived on the site, creating a notable element amid unmemorable superblock development.

Yosh Asato