Fifth Third Bank Project Connect

Building Architecture- Large Scale (>10,000 sf)

Project Narrative

Nearly 50 years after Fifth Third Bank (5/3) first planted its roots at Fountain Square, our firm was invited to collaborate on a complete transformation of their headquarters—a project named “Project Connect.”

This three-year project is the capstone of a comprehensive overhaul of 5/3’s employee/visitor experience. Guided by an integrated team, this project prioritized design drivers around legibility, transparency, connection to community, and connection to 5/3. Together, these manifested a solution that defined a new front door, created an open environment, strengthened 5/3’s bond with Cincinnati, and reinvented the user experience.

To improve the building’s legibility, the project connected the 5/3 Center’s Tower and the William Rowe Building—creating a central front door. The simple glass volume is tailored to complement but stand apart from the building’s minimalist architecture.

The primary architectural feature is the glass curtain wall intent on improving daylight and maximizing sightlines.
In the atrium, the spacious area is available to 5/3 employees and the public. The Forum—a forward-thinking collaboration space on the second floor—accommodates groups with different sizes and needs.

Guests are guided through The Forum by an undulating wood ceiling feature reminiscent of the Ohio River. Further inside, an original bank vault was reimagined as a collaborative space with dynamic textures and details, including a metallic ceiling, blue carpet, and funky furniture.

The best thing about this project? It accomplished everything we set out to and more.

Speciality Awards

Community Impact

Project Connect was also an investment in Cincinnati. In fact, connection to community was a major design driver. The project maximized the potential of previously underutilized, unprogrammed areas. The permanent performance stage also fulfills a long-term community goal for a state-of-the-art public venue on the square.

The building is now literally—and figuratively—an outreach to the community. The public is invited to use the atrium, and the Forum is used for bank-sponsored community events. Community is expressed through several graphic features—including an acrylic sculpture in the atrium, created through a data algorithm that represents the community’s online activity.

Project Details

Submission Category

Building Architecture- Large Scale (>10,000 sf)

Date of Completion

June, 2021