Architect: AG Architecture
Owner: First Federal Bank
Developer: Tarantino & Company
Contractor: Ganther Construction
This financial institution is part of an 18,150 sq. ft., multi-building commercial development on the corner of Moorland Road and Greenfield Avenue, which includes a 6,300 sq. ft. retail building anchored by Starbucks. The goal of the 11,850 sq. ft. bank portion of the project was to provide a signature architectural landmark on this prominent corner in order to serve as a gateway into the City of Brookfield while clearly expressing the bank’s brand as well as the organization’s commitment to the community.
This site was undeveloped for many years due to the unsuitable soil, which included a depth of between 60 and 90 feet of peat. As the team embarked on the project, the levels of peat in the soil posed a major challenge that was addressed by using over 300 driven piles, pile caps and structural slab to support the building.
The design of the two-story building needed to accentuate the visibility of the site, both the importance of the corner location and its function as an entryway into the City of Brookfield from the surrounding communities. Inspired by the curvature of the bank’s flag logo, a curved wall detail serves as the predominant design feature for this structure. In plan, the curve pulls the front entry of the building closer to the high traffic corner while the curve in elevation brings the prominent stone wall to its peak at the entry and main customer circulation path. While the stone wall is rising towards the entry, the glass curtain wall is revealing more of the upper office space as it works its way towards the center of the site.
The stone wall allows the bank to communicate a sense of security, a feature that symbolizes the protection of the valuable contents, while the glass wall maximizes exterior views and provides ample daylighting for the office space. The engineering and construction challenge was creating a curved wall, both convex and sloping upward, while bending the minimal amount of steel. The team carefully calculated the use of as many straight steel members as possible in order to achieve the desired aesthetic.
The lower level of the building includes the retail bank operations, bank offices and three drive-through lanes. The second level provides rentable office space as well as a boardroom to serve the office suites and the bank’s conference functions. A two-story vestibule with a feature wall of custom walnut panels and a signature light fixture that appears to be floating in space provides a dramatic point of entry.
The bank’s interior responds to the staff’s desire to work in a space that champions a unique approach to the evolving style of bank relationships, one that fosters deeper interactions with the broad demographic of today’s bank customers. A more open, barrier free design was created through custom sit-down teller stations that encourage relationship building. The marketing team also wanted the interior to communicate a strong brand presence. A custom metal screen behind the teller stations incorporates the bank branding while providing separation between the front teller stations and the drive-through service area.
The overall design creates a distinct experience for the bank. The building provides a sense of familiarity to bank customers while achieving a signature look, a design that specifically suits the site and location of this branch. A landscaped monument sign is positioned at the intersection of Moorland and Greenfield to reinforce the sense of a gateway entry into the City of Brookfield.
Photo: Tricia Shay Photography