Architect: Schmidt, Garden and Erikson
Address: 1100 Jefferson Davis Highway (U.S. Route 1)
Nowhere in Richmond do building location, architecture and unifying graphics come together more powerfully and memorably than at the Model Tobacco building, a former factory that is one of six buildings in an industrial neighborhood of South Richmond.
This six story, red brick and glass building was designed by the Chicago architecture firm of Schmidt, Garden and Erikson (a firm that designed some 300 hospitals in other parts of the nation).
The sleek building is obviously meant to be “read” from vehicles at modest highway speeds. The elongated ribbon windows on the street side lend an enhanced sense of horizontality to the building’s street façade. The corporate name, “Model Tobacco,” rendered in nine foot high, aluminum, and sans serif Futura characters (that project slightly above the roofline) can be seen from some distance away.
If the visionary architects of the German Bauhaus sought to establish unity of function, architectural design and graphic identity, this modernistic building would be their poster child.
The landmark, alas, awaits a new use.