Newport Balboa Savings

Collecting and going through other peoples old slides is always a time-travel adventure. A couple of weeks ago a friend invited me over to see his family slides. In between wonderful shots of his grandparents living the life on Lido Isle in Newport Beach in the 50s and 60s, I ran across this one and just about fell out of my chair backwards! -NEWPORT BALBOA SAVINGS, NEWPORT BEACH, 1963, with a big, beautiful 1958 Cadillac Coupe de Ville front and center – (just like my grandma had; only hers was pink!) I don’t see too many slides of buildings like this probably because there weren’t any others like it! If it hadn’t been remodeled beyond recognition, just think, we could all open accounts there.

The ever-so-harmonious combination of the glass box, folded “paper” penthouse roofline and Land-of-the Giants scale abstract artwork are intoxicating. Together they send me soarin’ to the moon right where this building belongs! If there were a bank in Tomorrowland this could be it. Who knew sunscreen panels could be so colorful and artistic? Well the architect, W. A. Sarmiento, did. Originally from Lima, Peru he had previously worked with master modernist, Oscar Niemeyer, designing the ultimate mid-century modern utopia, Brasilia. According to the legend Sarmiento received this commission after getting into a car accident with a bank executive who just happened to be looking for an architect to design a new bank building.

The result was this — Southern California’s most fashionable bank building ever. Newport Balboa Savings was a one-of-a-kind sampler platter of ultra modern mid-century architectural details done with South American flair and style– Olé

Cheers to you and W.A. SARMIENTO