First Bank Prototype Branch - Chester, IL

The client had three major priorities in working with Paradigm Architects, LLC to develop this prototype community branch bank. First, they wanted to reduce costs. This was achieved by paring off all excess space (smaller building means less costs), by selecting sophisticated but less “high-end” interior finishes, and by value engineering the preliminary design with the help of the contractor.

Second, the client needed the planning and architecture to serve a very strictly defined, new marketing and product sales agenda. Instead of past concepts where the objective had been to get the customer promptly to the teller line, this scheme creates a sales, media and product experience in the space between the entry and main service counter. A coffee stand, media center, coin counter, internet banking kiosk, and customer check podium all serve functional banking needs and also provide the context for promotional, informational and sales graphics. This marketing experience space is the centerpiece of the building and reads as such from the exterior – particularly at night – as well.

Third, and finally, the bank potentially needs to be able to build branches quickly on a wide variety of sites. The first constructed version, built in Chester, Illinois, was completed in less than six months from groundbreaking to occupancy. The second constructed version is a “mirror-image” and was erected in Salem, Illinois in the same accelerated schedule. The plan can readily be adapted (including parking, site access and circulation) to almost any commercially zoned setting.

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