A vacant lot in Austin, TX, has been transformed with the help of a local stone. The Pioneer Bank headquarters opened in October of 2016, revitalizing an area a decade bare and featuring a material that reminds residents of the bank’s Texas Hill Country roots.

It’s an impressive combination of stone and glass housing a branch bank, its executive suites, additional space for building tenants and a parking structure. A glass and open-air walkway connect the parking garage and office building over a two-lane street.  

The building’s designers, Jackson & McElhaney Architects, say this design was chosen to create a timeless yet modern banking archetype and connect indoor spaces to the outdoors. The design is part of the bank’s plan to convey the idea that banking can be open, direct and easy.  To accomplish this vision, a combination of roughback Lueders limestone, cast stone and gray concrete masonry units, glass and metals were used. “Roughback Lueders creates the dominate field stone covering the majority of masonry veneered walls,” explained Senior Associate Reed Critendon of Jackson & McElhaney Architects. “Thin cream-colored limestone bands mark the elevation datum, which aligns the punched window openings in the masonry walls. The oversized limestone is a classic regional material in central Texas.”  The design team also used glassy walls on upper levels and warm colored metal panels as “shoulders” to balance the strong stone presence.  

Jackson & McElhaney Architects say they focus on “earth-friendly designs” in their work and the Pioneer Bank building is no different. Set on a busy tree-lined street in Austin, the architects worked around “several large City of Austin heritage trees while maximizing the building footprint to take full advantage of the client’s property,” Critendon explained. In addition to working to maximize the building area, the design team carefully worked to create the perfect pattern within the stone portions of the projects. “We coordinated the stone coursing with the punched windows and stone balconies on the project,” said Critendon. “The refined design also called for the careful attention to the color mix of the roughback Lueders so that the final product was an evenly blended composition of the natural colors.”

Meanwhile the building’s look is designed to last decades. Critendon explained this was part of the goal. “The carefully planned and crafted cut-stone coursing creates a tailored facade that is both timeless and modern,” he said. “The large stone blocks anchor the building to the ground and remind the client of classic banking archetypes.”

The three-story building contains 37,000 square feet of office space, while the four-and-one-half-level parking garage adds another 65,000 square feet. It’s made up of 3,600 square feet of gray block and 12,750 square feet of oversized roughback Lueders limestone. The limestone pieces range in height randomly from 8 to 18 inches and are mixed with pieces of 4-inch-high cream-colored limestone.

Inside you’ll find a lobby continuing the look of the exterior. Rough stone lines the back wall and floor-to-ceiling windows make up the front.  The floor is striped with tiles of “Classic Tan” and “Taupe Blend” from the Keanu by Concepts Surfaces. You’ll find two different-sized tiles, 18 x 36 inches and 6 x 36 inches, used to make this design.

The new Pioneer Bank headquarters recently won the 2017 Golden Trowel award. Jackson & McElhaney Architects also designed Pioneer Bank’s original facility in Dripping Springs, TX, which won a Golden Trowell award in 2010.