MANCHESTER, N.H., April 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Established in 1908 as the nation's first credit union, St. Mary's Bank had been serving its members for more than 100 years when it called upon Lavallee Brensinger Architects to help set the stage for the next century. St. Mary's embarked on a mission to create a place to celebrate both the institution's past and future: a new headquarters that harkens back to the credit union's historic roots with authenticity, while also capturing the originality of its brand and progressive services.
During thought-provoking workshops, management and board directed the design team of Lavallee Brensinger Architects and Stibler Associates Interior Design to achieve three primary objectives.
Member Centric: As the world of financial services continues to evolve, St. Mary's has remained relevant by offering a broad range of member services. In turn, its new space had to be correspondingly more member friendly, welcoming and accessible. The visitor's experience begins upon turning onto the site, where designated member parking is available proximate to a readily identifiable front door. Inside, the multi-story lobby provides orientation to various services and amenities, all of which are strategically positioned for member convenience and privacy. A cascading grand stair invites members to visit departments on the upper floors.
Operational Excellence: Like other responsible businesses, St. Mary's understands that cost efficient operations lead to greater returns for its members. Throughout programming and design, workflows and member interfaces were analyzed to enhance productivity, embrace collaboration, accommodate change, and promote visitor satisfaction. Also emblematic of its commitment to responsible operations, the credit union is a proud steward of a healthy environment and is expecting LEED® Gold Certification.
Building Community: Perhaps the most compelling design story was inspired by St. Mary's interest in leveraging its own building opportunity to strengthen the community. Early on, it became apparent that the new building should be positioned to capture one of the landmark corners in the city, where the credit union's previous headquarters stood more than 80 years ago. Bright stone was chosen for cladding because of its enduring authenticity, and the facade curves in allusion to the historic headquarters sited nearby. However, unlike its predecessor, this new building offers greater transparency. The sweeping, curved facade addressing the intersection is multi-story curtainwall, offering views to and from the new lobby. It is this juxtaposition of the historic stone container and warm, modern inner workings that captures the essence of St. Mary's Bank: rooted in history and authentic, yet state-of-the-art and progressive; solid and secure, yet open and welcoming.
"Our board of directors evaluated options over several years before arriving at the decision to invest in a new facility. The vision for the new space was to build for our future while honoring our heritage as the nation's first credit union and to create a space that functioned well on many levels. The board was unwilling to compromise on any of the goals and sought an architectural firm that could not only see the vision, but achieve it," said Ron Covey, President and CEO of St. Mary's Bank. "We found Lavallee Brensinger to be attentive, conscientious and collaborative in every step of the process, and they made our goals their commitment. The result exceeded our expectations and we could not be happier."
The new headquarters embodies St. Mary's vision of a financial institution that is well grounded by its past and eagerly embracing its future. And along the way it has revitalized its neighborhood and created a new treasure for a growing city.
Contact: Jael Ballard, 617-398-2035 x210, [email protected]
SOURCE Lavallee Brensinger Architects