When Mente & Sowell Architects, Inc., got the assignment to design Amplify Credit Union’s new flagship branch on Burnet Road at Esperanza Crossing, they set out to create a stylistically compelling building that is also welcoming to members.
“We have gone for a modern look to reflect Amplify’s cutting-edge financial services,” said Clark Mente, architect on the project along with his partner, Elizabeth Sowell. “The building is intended to bring in some color; surrounding buildings are largely light grey, concrete colors.”
The 8,000-square foot structure, which is scheduled to open in late 2016, will have a steel frame and features a variety of exterior finishes, the visual sum total of which creates a pleasing picture to the eye while also promising years of minimal maintenance.
“We are using Lueders limestone, a locally sourced material, and metal wall panels which require no maintenance,” said Sowell.
“We will also spray in place foam insulation on the inside,” said Mente. “Think of it as a big ice chest with windows.”
The balance of the exterior is covered in a product called Longboard, which is made from recycled aluminum siding, but which looks remarkably like wood thanks to the photographic etching process used in its manufacture.
“Amplify requested wood because of its warm, welcoming qualities,” said Mente, “but even the densest, hardest woods require great care and attention to maintain their effectiveness and appearance.”
Longboard provides the same look as wood without all of woods inherent drawbacks. “The Amplify branch will also mark the first time Longboard has been used in Austin,” said Mente.
The roof is a single-ply membrane with a highly reflective value that contributes to lower interior temperatures and reduced air conditioning requirements. For the same reason, the windows are of the highest-quality glazing as they must permit enough sunlight into the building to contribute to its friendly confines while not allowing so much that those inside are blinded by it.
“We’ve used Solarban 70XL windows because they transmit the highest percentage of visible light while blocking the greatest possible amount of solar energy,” said Mente. “There is a second layer of highly reflective glass that addresses direct light from the sun when it’s in the east and west.”
The flagship branch has also been designed to accommodate an increasing amount of foot traffic as the Domain area becomes more pedestrian intensive in the coming years. The drive-thru windows are in the back and not visible from the street and sidewalk access to the doors in emphasized.
In keeping with the theme of low maintenance, the grounds will be xeriscaped and feature a drip irrigation system. This, along with the specialized glazing, roof and low-maintenance exterior finishes, add up to a facility that has been designed with green priorities. Addressing the 2012 energy code, which sets standards for watts used per square foot, Mente said, “We exceed its minimum electrical requirements by 20 percent and by 10 percent overall.”
Amplify’s distinctive logo makes an appearance on the building’s exterior on the screen wall along Esperanza Crossing. It is to be rendered as a steel screen and its presence means there is no mistaking that this is an Amplify Credit Union branch.
Want to know more about the Esperanza Branch? Click here to go back to the main article.