Winchester Savings Bank hired Approach Architects in the fall of 1999 to complete a feasibility study on a building in Woburn that they were looking to purchase and convert into a new branch bank. As part of our initial study, we reviewed the city zoning and building ordinances, presented a design schematic for the new branch and site, and provided estimated budget costs to complete the project. Upon reviewing our findings, the bank decided to move ahead with the project and purchased the property.
The building was a two-story masonry building that housed four medical office suites, two on each floor. The building was built in the early 1960’s and was not ADA compliant. The site had a substantial change in grade as you moved away from the street towards the rear of the site. The front entry stair on Main Street provided access to the second floor only and was located roughly six feet above street level. The rear entry off the parking area provided access only to the first floor and was located at grade.
The goals for the project were to update and improve the overall site and building aesthetic, make the building ADA compliant, and accommodate the following bank branch program: a drive-up teller window, ATM, and night deposit, (4) full service teller stations, (2) platform desks, (1) private office, (1) safe deposit area, (1) conference room, (1) depository, (2) full service ATM’s and support areas.
In order for the project to start, a special permit from the Woburn Zoning Board needed to be issued so that the bank could locate their new branch in a mixed-use district. Approach Architects prepared the application and documents, and participated in the zoning board public hearings to help the bank win approval from the city.
Our design located the branch lobby on the first floor of the two story building so that the branch staff would have direct access to the drive-up teller, ATM’s, and depository. The branch support areas and building wash rooms were located on the second floor along with one leasable office suite that was to remain. The existing rear entry door was relocated to the driveway side of the building where it was combined with our new 24 hour ATM lobby. The existing penetrations on the rear wall were in-filled so that a continuous surface was built against which we could queue our drive-up traffic without interfering with pedestrian entry and egress.
The building was brought into ADA compliance through the installation of a new elevator that connected the first floor ATM lobby with a new second floor lobby located on the driveway side along Main Street. To give the building some visual prominence on Main Street, we added new floor-to-ceiling glazing walls in the new second floor lobby area and built a new masonry parapet above. The new extended façade marked the corner of the building, helped to screen the elevator shaft beyond, and provided a surface to install our new internally illuminated bank signage.
The interior of the existing building was tired and outdated. We gutted the entire interior, removed the through-the-wall air conditioners, replaced all the windows, and installed new building mechanical systems. The building had low ceilings, and we offset this on the first floor by relocating plumbing and HVAC lines so that we could gain additional ceiling height above the main branch queuing area.
The interior of the space was brightened by the use of a light maple wood for the office interior glazing walls. The millwork throughout the branch was custom designed and built with solid surface, plastic laminate, natural wood, and brass materials. The finish palette included natural stone floor tiles, carpet, and compositional flooring. The furniture and fabrics selected played off of the green and taupe colors established in the millwork and were similarly used in painted accent walls to present a unified and cohesive look to the new branch space.