First National Bank, Metro Crossing Branch

Merit Award

The Metro Crossing branch of the First National Bank in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is located directly off an interstate and nestled between river casinos and strip malls. With its architecture and environmental graphics that embrace Iowa’s natural prairie history, RDG Planning & Design sought to strike a balance with the surrounding commercial area.

RDG designed a 160-ft. point-supported glass cavity wall that bisects the 11,000-sq.-ft. branch building. Patterns of local prairie grass and flowers were applied to the cavity and at night, the internally illuminated wall glows with RGB LED light, attempting to ground the building to its site.

The owners sought to use the building as a billboard, which led to the lit glass wall solution, while keeping the rest of the structure relatively tame to blend in with the surrounding strip mall architecture. The client wanted to use the branch as an architectural tie to the community through its form, and question the limits of how bank typology should present itself.

Jury Comments: 

“A beautifully stylized solution that brands the entire environment and transforms the space.”

“Branding an entire building by using the facade as a billboard could easily be stylistically trendy and expected. What made this project stand out is the sophisticated, restrained materials. The timeless use of this beautiful silhouette landscape as a counterpoint to the rigid architectural structure seems a natural extension of a building within a landscape within a building.”

Design Firm: 

RDG Planning & Design


First National Bank

Location City: 

Council Bluffs, Iowa

Project Area: 


Open Date: 


Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Tom Kessler

Design Team: 

Jeff Dolezal, Rebecca Harding, Lea Schuster, Sonja Carter




LOOK Architectural Coatings

Related Links: 

New Member Offer

Click to access the 2020 "Never been an SEGD member before" $185 sign up offer

Upcoming SEGD Events

2023 SEGD Academic Summit
2023 Wayfinding and Placemaking
2023 Experience Washington D.C.