Brookline Bank hired Approach Architects to design and observe the construction for their new facility in Newtonville, MA. This branch was to serve as the first implementation of their new branded branch layout and design, developed by Approach for their Coolidge Corner branch, beyond the original site. However, the budget would require maintaining the qualities that were so successful in the original while reducing the overall cost of the build-out.
The new branch is located in a former retail store on Walnut Street. The building faces onto the street, but the majority of the available parking spaces are behind the building. A pedestrian alley runs along the side of the building. The branch program includes (3) full service teller stations, (1) greeter desk, (2) platform desks, (1) private office, (1) community display area, (1) online station, (1) night drop, (1) full service ATM, and accompanying support areas.
With the goal of differentiating Brookline Bank from its nearby competitors, one of the main concepts of the design was to create internal community space that is visible and inviting from the street. This community space was to include a gallery space for local artwork, allocation for promoting community activities, and a coffee service station. To improve visibility into the branch, the existing storefront was reconfigured to include more glass and several large windows were cut into the wall facing the alley. These openings have created considerably improved visibility and overall quality of light within the building.
Because there are two entrance points, the street and the parking lot, the teller lobby is located centrally within the space, across from the large side windows. The 24-hour ATM lobby is at the street entrance, maximizing visibility. From there, a curving soffit draws the customer into the space to the customer service and platform areas. Customer contact and possible sales opportunities are encouraged in this open customer service zone enhanced with online banking, coffee service, and waiting. The soffit continues through the teller area to the community gallery space where artwork is washed with light. The soffit culminates at the second entrance adjacent to the parking area.
The new window openings were located to take advantage of existing features of the building. The exterior masonry was divided into bays by the structure, providing natural locations for the windows that integrate them into the overall building. We designed the interior space around those openings to provide sight lines to key elements: the teller line, the platform area, and the rear entry.
The materials, finishes, and furniture selected by Approach for Coolidge Corner were brought forward into this new branch. The run of the soffit is mirrored in the floor by transitioning from the neutral ceramic tile to either the bolder border tile or the carpet. The millwork design was simplified to reduce production costs while maintaining the lines developed for the prototype.