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Wainwright Bank, Coolidge Corner
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Brookline Bank, Coolidge Corner

Wainwright Bank Coolidge Corner


Wainwright Bank hired Approach Architects to design and manage the construction for their new facility in Coolidge Corner, their first to be submitted and approved for LEED Silver Certification. The new branch is located in a former cellular telephone store on Harvard Street in Brookline, MA. The branch program includes (5) full service teller stations, (4) platform desks, (2) private offices, (1) community room with “cyber café,” (1) night drop, (2) full service ATM's, and required support areas.

Our Approach

From the initial planning stages, the goal for this Wainwright branch was to make it a “Green Bank” and promote the principle that environmental responsibility leads to sustainable business. Through the use of recycled materials, sustainable finishes, and creative design solutions for daylighting, thermal comfort, solar shading, and water & energy consumption, the branch would become Wainwright’s first branch certified through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program, exemplifying Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

The bank’s space is unusually narrow for its length. To make it feel wider and draw the eye deeper into the space, we created a color changing glass wall that runs the length of the branch. The lightness helps the space seem larger than it is, while the varying color spectrum, provided by energy efficient LED fixtures, is eye-catching to passersby, especially after hours, and provides movement along the entire length of the branch. The finishes employed throughout the branch were selected to reflect the changing light and allow the entire palette to shift with that light. To conserve space and maintain the plane of the glass wall, niches for a variety of functions are recessed into the wall itself, including coffee service counters and video monitors in the cyber café and banquettes in the banking lobby and customer service areas.

Like all Wainwright branches, a community room was included in the design. This space, which doubles as a cyber café during the day, provides after-hour meeting space for non-profit customer organizations. When the branch is open, it provides a relaxing space to access the web and enjoy a cup of coffee. A recessed rolling screen between the community room and banking lobby is raised and hidden during business hours and lowered after hours providing maximum flexibility without compromising security.

The Details

Our goal from the outset was to create an environmentally responsible space while meeting Wainwright Bank’s expectations for creative and innovative design. Finish materials were selected that included recycled content including scrap aluminum, vinyl, wood, and paper. Substrates included recycled metal and gypsum, wheat waste, and formaldehyde-free binders & glues. To bring daylighting to the middle of the space, 23 cylindrical skylights were installed. The lighting system continually monitors the interior light levels and automatically reduces lamp output when it is brighter outside. The mechanical systems are considerably more efficient than those typically used in the industry.