Room for expansion seems to always be a problem, especially in a central business district. Many businesses are left with no choice but to relocate, thus leaving behind buildings which soon become disused and dilapidated. When this becomes contagious, downtons die.
Realizing its need for expansion, the former Lafayette Buliding Association Savings Bank (now part of Iberia Bank) took this opportunity to purchase an adjacent building which had been abandoned. Since office space was not of immediate concern, the association used the space to solve other problems which had plagued its downtown location. Inadequate parking, traffic congestion, and neglected surroundings combined to make customer transactions increasingly inconvenient. The solution to the problems was to convert the adjacent building into a customer drive-in facility with television – pneumatic tube contact with the main building.
Since much of the building was structurally sound, the roof and the load – bearing masonry walls were left intact. The façade of the old building was remodeled to match the existing bank facilities. Not only did this give the complex identity, but it helped to revitalize the downtown area. The existing concrete floor was replaced by an exposed aggregate drive, a pond, and many plants. Parking could have been included, but it was felt that the CBD needed landscaped areas more than it needed parking. Skylights were installed in order to provide natural illumination and energy for the plants. Local artists were commissioned to do a large piece of sculpture as a focal point for the space. A gentle flow of water trickles over the sculpture, creating a quiet yet dynamic diversion for the customer waiting for service. It also invites sidewalk traffic to stroll through the space. A large portion of the roof was removed over the sculpture, which sits in the pond. The existing masonry openings in the rear wall were provided with redwood screens, thus providing light yet hiding the alley beyond.