Title

From Money Storage to Money Store: Openness and Transparency in Bank Architecture

Publication Date

10-5-2012

Journal

Business History

Abstract

In the middle of the twentieth century, banks changed from ‘closed’ designs signifying wealth, security, and safety to ‘open’ designs signifying hospitality, honesty, and transparency as the perception of money changed from a passive physical substance to be slowly accumulated to an active notational substance to be kept in motion. If money is saved, customers must trust that the bank is secure and their money will be there when they want it; if money is invested, customers must trust that it is being done openly and honestly and they are being well-advised. Architecture visually communicates that the institution can be trusted in the requisite way.

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