SmithGroupJJR and The Christman Company create a financial headquarters without the drab

The “un-bank” design ditched the stuffy design elements typical of financial institutions and, instead, created something much more inviting.

March 01, 2016 |

Photo Courtesy of SmithGroupJJR

Typically, banks are not the most open, airy, and inviting of spaces. Like a shirt and tie that are just a bit too small, they can sometimes feel a bit stuffy and suffocating. Finances already cause enough stress and gloom in people’s everyday lives, so why do financial institutions all have a shared aesthetic with a mortuary?

SmithGroupJJR, The Christman Company, and Lake Trust Credit Union were asking that same question. And with the help of some employee collaboration workshops, the new $26 million dollar Lake Trust Credit Union headquarters, located in Brighton, Mich., is anything but stuffy.

The new headquarters building, which is home to 240 employees and is designed to accommodate up to 325 employees, offers a 100% open work environment, bucking the trend of the dark, stuffy designs many financial institutions opt to go with.

The 100,000-sf headquarters sits on a diverse 16-acre site that features wetlands, woodlands, and rolling topography. In an effort to connect to the surrounding outdoors, the headquarters has a two-story front porch, a second floor balcony equipped with an outdoor dining area, and a terrace overlooking the wetlands located on the north side of the building. In addition, the front entry has a living wall serving as the backdrop.

The interior of the building also has this “un-bank” theme carried throughout. The building’s three levels are connected with a grand stair and a large atrium that can double as an impromptu auditorium. Amenities include a full-service cafeteria and a dining space.

The new headquarters is targeting LEED certification with the use of sustainable design features such as large expanses of efficient, low-e glass for ample natural light and improved insulation, refurbished wood paneling from demolished Detroit buildings, and bioswales restored with native vegetation to help with storm water management.

The president and CEO of Lake Trust Credit Union, David Snodgrass, described the building as “very un-corporate like” and said it looks more like something you would find at a company like Facebook or Google, rather than a financial institution.

SmithGroupJJR provided the design services such as programming, architecture, interior design, and all of the engineering. The Christman Company provided a wide array of development, program management, and construction management services. Finally, Interior Environments helped to furnish the building.

 

Photo Courtesy of SmithGroupJJR

 

Photo Courtesy of SmithGroupJJR

 

Photo Courtesy of SmithGroupJJR

 

Photo Courtesy of SmithGroupJJR

 

Photo Courtesy of SmithGroupJJR

 

Photo Courtesy of SmithGroupJJR

 

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