new icn messageflickr-free-ic3d pan white
Markel Building 1--Inspired by a Baked Potato | by David Hoffman '41
Back to photostream

Markel Building 1--Inspired by a Baked Potato

[This set contains 6 photos] This is a creative commons image, which you may freely use by linking to this page. Please respect the photographer and his work.


The Markel Building is just outside the city limits of Richmond, Virginia in Henrico County. A 2005 plaque erected by the county reads:


"The Markel Corporation commissioned architect Haig Jamgochian, a Richmond native, to design their headquarters in 1962. The aluminum clad conical structure was inspired by a baked potato wrapped in foil served to Jamgochian while attending an American Institute of Architect's dinner. Each floor consists of a single piece of 555-foot aluminum. They are the longest unbroken pieces of aluminum ever used as siding material. Jamgochian personally sledge-hammered crinkles into the 3rd floor siding before contractors finished the job on the other two floors in 1965. The building is a unique architectural example of its era."


The aluminum came from another Richmond-based company, Reynolds Metals, best known to the ordinary consumer for Reynolds aluminum foil. The aluminum exterior has seen a lot of wear over the years and has been patched with metal and duct tape. This futuristic and visionary structure has been called the “Jiffy-Pop Building”. Jamgochian, despite having only two designed structures built, has achieved international renown with many of his unique architectural ideas. Richmond was not interested; but buildings based on his ideas have been erected in Brazil, South Africa, Japan and Chicago! The second built structure was the Moon House, built for Richmond used-car salesman called Mad Man Dapper Dan. It was demolished in 2005.


For some reading on a fascinating man:


For some reading on the Markel Corporation, an insurance firm historically significant in the transportation industry:


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License



2 faves
Taken on January 20, 2011