Cypress wood is the gold standard for the new headquarters of Live Oak Bank in Wilmington, NC.

The U-shaped building, designed by architect Laura Miller, principal of LS3P Architects, rendered a building adapts to its setting more like a lodge than a bank.

“The owner wanted the building to be as natural as possible — as if it had grown from the land and been there for years,” Miller said. “To add balance, we wanted to feature a soft material that would contrast with the vast expanses of glass. We knew early on that the exterior skin would be wood.”

That said, Miller added, “Cypress was the perfect solution not only due to its local availability, but also its natural durability and beautiful aesthetic qualities. Ultimately, we were able to use traditional building materials in a modern way, while optimizing views and daylighting."

Approximately 50,000 board feet of cypress is used outside and inside the new headquarters.

The cypress used for the exterior and soffits was finished with a clear sealant, not only to show off the wood's natural color, but to allow it to "weather to a light gray as time goes on," Miller said.

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Cypress also graces the interior of the bank complex. It is used in ceilings in the conference room, lounge, gym, and corridors. Custom cypress millwork also can be found at individual workstations throughout the building.