Wainwright Bank hired Approach Architects to design and manage the construction for their new facility in Somerville, MA. The new branch was to be located in a former used clothing store in the heart of the trendy Davis Square area. The branch program to be implemented was a first for Wainwright Bank and was to feature a new “cyber” café. The branch was also to include (4) full service teller station, (3) platform desks, (2) private offices, (1) community room, (1) night drop, (2) full service ATM’s and support areas.
The goals of the project were to launch the new “cyber” café concept and to create an eye catching retail space that was befitting of its environment.
The main challenge at this location was the leasable area was made up of two distinct storefronts and two clearly defined retail bays. Our goal was to transform the two spaces into one unified coherent bank branch.
The major design element of the branch was a large red wall that we used to separate the bank’s service oriented transaction areas from the sales areas and also used to unify our exterior façade. The red wall penetrated our exterior façade and was used to separate the ATM lobby from the Wainwright Community Room and cyber café. The wall also become the mounting surface for our exterior signage.
The cyber café was an extension of the bank’s community room. It was designed as a space for the bank’s customers to relax, access the bank’s online banking services and to enjoy a cup of coffee. Due to the 24 hour nature of the community room we used a recessed rolling screen that is raised during branch hours so that the cyber café simply becomes an extension of the branch lobby. In the evenings, the rolling grate is lowered so that the community room becomes separated from the secure lobby and is accessible only from the 24 hour ATM lobby. Another design element we implemented was a gas fireplace. We located the four sided fireplace between the bank’s sales area and the cyber café to provide a physical and visual break between the two functions without creating an impenetrable barrier.
Another major design element used within the branch was curves. The free form curves were used to offset the permanency of the red wall. The curves were used in the ATM wall, undulating soffits, aluminum office glazing walls, and the service niches filing niches of the sales. The curves helped to soften the stark wall and to help unify the two spaces by providing a physical and visual connection between the two.
Bright, cheery and colorful were our marching orders as we developed the interior finish and furniture palettes for the new branch. The custom millwork fused orange and red solid surfaces. The teller row used yellow, white, and magenta laminates to offset the illuminated teller panels. The flooring was a combination of grey carpet and purple rubber flooring.