Credit Union 1 Alaska was planning a complete renovation of their South Anchorage branch including a new member experience and design that would set a new direction for them and also for Alaska. CU1 essentially asked us to upset banking a bit and create a something new and unique.
The South Anchorage property was fairly large, over 3,000 SF, but the existing building was poorly using that space and outdated. Because of some big issues with the existing structure, they planned to raise the building, keeping only the drive-up foundations and parking lot. The client asked us to develop a completely new center using the existing site.
We developed a new member experience based on an open layout that was conducive to the high transaction volume experienced by the branch, while using the new open plan to introduce a new first engagement role that would lead with a more conversational member reception. We proposed some big ideas, from an iridescent metal clad building with a large triangulated front façade to an interior courtyard with a botanical garden. The client loved the proposal, although there were some hesitation on the botanical garden. We had proposed the central courtyard space with a few different use scenarios, but had privileged the enclosed botanical garden as a truly arresting element for the Alaskan market. The client sought to implement the design as fully proposed, but unfortunately the botanical garden and some height on the overall structure had to be value-engineered out. Otherwise, our design was implemented as proposed from exterior to interior to first engagement.
The iridescent metal panels were chosen because the color gradient covered the original brand colors of green to gray and was a nod to colors and dynamism of the northern lights. The building form was developed in response to the site. The building sits on a major road, but the road is dense with foliage, so we reoriented the building to the parking lot side. The previous building was mostly entered from the side, so we cut and bent into the façade to circulate this path to the new entry. The building mass is actually quite simple, but we carved and cut the form to add dimension, as well as playing with two materials—one higher cost and one lower cost. The final result is an a visually dynamic building that is both heavy (as a form) and light (from material and color) that shifts in tonality and hue as you move around the building.
See more about the building design on our architectural services site
See more work with CU1:
Corporate Interior Fit-Out
"Credit Union 1 engaged with Design Made to help inform and execute our future of banking strategy. Work included identifying new approaches to branch design; a platform for a more engaging member and employee experience as well as a freshened up brand. The goal was to provide accessibility, versatility and ease of use for members across Alaska while future-proofing credit union operations. The results far exceeded expectations.
Design Made designed a Financial Center concept for the credit union that perfectly met the objectives of our branch of the future strategy. From the most tiny of details, every aspect of the Financial Center was thoroughly thought through to ensure its purpose was exact. From the building’s exterior cladding representing the northern lights to the interior’s open and clean design, the space was created to provide the most optimal areas to conduct banking in a relaxing and stress free environment.
The experience working with Design Made has been nothing short of spectacular. From the depth of research they conduct to inform their work to the professionalism of presentation materials that help inform decisions and finally to the finished product - wow! Working with Design Made has been such an exciting and inspiring experience for me and my coworkers. "
— Rachel Langtry, COO Credit Union 1