“Calming. Focused. Friendly.”
Those are the words that Elizabeth Sowell uses to describe the interior design of Amplify Credit Union’s new Esperanza flagship branch on Burnet Road in Austin. Sowell is a partner in Mente Sowell Architects, Inc., the design firm on the project.
The beauty of creating a bank branch from the ground up is that it can be designed to maximize member services while also being versatile enough to handle any changes to the nature of banking that the years to come might have in store.
“The big deal now is creating the branch of the future,” said Sowell. “We made the retail space flexible to accommodate changes. Flexibility is the key. We wanted to create a natural, light-filled space where services are easily visible and recognizable,” said Sowell. “It's a place where Amplify can provide a growing membership with multiple services that are responsive to our complex community and which can also expand and change with membership needs.”
The Esperanza flagship branch has been designed to recognize the contemporary feel of the adjacent architecture at the Domain by featuring a mix of building materials such as faux-wood veneers on the exterior that also extend inside. Mente Sowell Architects’ design also calls for the use of Amplify's energetic and well-recognized orange and blue colors in the windows and translucent privacy screens.
The building will feature seven closed offices for the Branch Manager, Assistant Managers, and the Mortgage/Real Estate and Wealth Management professionals. The design includes six open office areas for the Account Management Professionals and a six-station teller line for member use. There will also be two main entrance atriums: one opening to the Domain Esperanza entrance and one to the Amplify parking lot. The two lobby areas are designed to let in a wealth of natural light. Services will include a coffee station, an internet self-service table where members can do their banking while charging their phones, and safety deposit vaults for member use.
The teller area will accommodate the needs of both members who walk in as well as those who are using the two drive-thru lanes. (A third drive-thru lane is for the ATM.) The back office is to consist of support spaces, storage and a lunchroom and has been designed to economize on space so that the balance of the building is available to serve members. This allows for a feature that both symbolizes and actualizes Amplify’s commitment to the community: a large meeting room that members can book for their own purposes if they so desire.
This 1,230-square foot Community Room will open to the southwest entrance atrium with a movable glass partition wall that can be made to disappear should additional space be required. This will add another 250 square feet of meeting area.
“The Community Room’s capacity is quite variable, but it can hold up to 80 people,” said Sowell. “It can be used for more than just meetings, too. There are 18 tables that be arranged in a classroom or non-conference configuration.”
Members will be able to see this new facility for themselves when it opens later this year.
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