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CambridgePort Bank, Harvard Square
Wainwright Bank, Davis Square
Brookline Bank, Newtonville
Wainwright Bank, Central Square
CambridgePort Bank, Coolidge Corner
Wainwright Bank, Watertown Square
Winchester Savings Bank, Hammond Square
Brookline Bank, Newton Highlands
Wainwright Bank, Newton Centre
Milford National, Hopkinton
Brookline Bank, Coolidge Corner
Wainwright Bank, Coolidge Corner

Cambridgeport Harvard


Cambridgeport Bank hired Approach Architects to design and manage the renovation and expansion of their existing Harvard Square branch located in Cambridge. The existing branch was going to double in size by taking over the adjacent retail bay. The final branch program was to include (5) full service teller stations, (2) platform desks, manager’s office, small conference room, 24-hour office, night deposit, (2) full service ATM’s and support areas.

The primary goal of the project was to use the renovated Harvard Square branch as the new flagship branch for Cambridgeport Bank. Approach was asked to develop a new retail look for the bank as well as to establish new corporate colors and finishes to be implemented network wide. We were charged with incorporating the Bank’s new logo, corporate colors, and branch look as well as phasing the construction so that the existing branch remained operational at all times while the renovation and expansion was underway.

Our Approach

The major design challenge was how to phase the construction so that the existing branch remained operational with a minimum of disruption during the renovation. We designed the new space so that the new service areas of the branch would occupy the newly acquired space, and the sales area would remain in the existing branch space. This decision provided us with the opportunity to construct the new ATM room, teller area, data room, and washroom in advance without disturbing the existing branch. When those pieces were completed, we were able to remove the dividing partition and carve out a temporary area within the existing branch for the sales area while the remaining construction was completed.

The Branch is arranged in four zones surrounding the banking lobby. Customers enter the branch through the 24-hour ATM Lobby. The platform desks and offices are along the windows to the right. The teller line forms the left side. The support areas are in the back. In this way, the customers get the maximum exposure to the ATM’s and the platform area before arriving at the tellers.

The major design initiative of this branch was establishing the new look for Cambridgeport Bank. The Bank wanted something fresh and unique to make it stand out from the other local banks. We worked with the client to develop a new, brighter color palette. Working with the clients, we settled on royal blue and goldenrod yellow. These colors were picked up in the laminates, the solid surface, the carpet, the wall paint, and the signage. To warm-up the palette, we added maple trim as a material.

The Details

We developed a millwork and trim system, utilizing the new materials, and unifying and enhancing the look of the Branch. The door and sidelight trim is maple with parallel kerfs. This look was picked up in the front of the teller line millwork and the legs of the check desk. We also incorporated it into one of our signature elements, a pair of curved, translucent screens dividing the Lobby from the Platform. These screens are open at the base and top, keeping the platform positions light and airy. This curve was repeated in the soffit over the teller line.

The flooring was used to further define the zones. Ceramic tile was used extensively in the 24-hour lobby and the banking lobby. We switched to a softer carpet in the platform and office areas, giving a richer appearance and helping attenuate the sound levels in those areas. We provided a lower ceiling in those areas as well, adding to the sense of increased privacy.