Technology has changed the way that we do business, from online commerce to Skype conferencing. One of the biggest impacts has fallen on our financial institutions. Bank architecture is no longer the process of building up grim, gray walls that it once was. Instead, bank design/builders are now tasked with elegantly incorporating new technology into beautiful business that welcome customers to a place that feels less like a private vault and more like a personal invitation to “Come on in.”

One of the first challenges that this presents to bank design/builders is that individual branches are becoming smaller. Because the efficiency of banks has drastically increased since their start in 1791, we no longer need huge lobbies that accomodate long lines. Instead, we can build branches that feel more cozy. These smaller spaces sometimes come at a cost, though. It is up to modern bank architecture to create ways to accommodate all the modern day needs of financial institutions in a space that is not much larger than a single-family home.

The message that banks are trying to convey through these new layouts is more than just talk, though. Banks are becoming more personal than ever, breaking down the barriers that once existed between employees and customers. One of the most recent trends in banking architecture is the creation of small rooms, or “pods,” where one teller and one customer can sit together to review transactions, complete deposits, or take care of other inquiries. Here, there are often multiple computer screens, allowing both the teller and the customer to see account details. This means that architects are tasked with creating sectioned-out portions of the bank in an open floor-plan.

They do so by naturally incorporating interior design techniques that we often use in our own homes. For example, architects can design lighting fixtures that create a natural “center” around a particular area. Hanging a series of lights over a series of teller “pods” creates the feel of separation between each station without the need to build additional partitions. You may also notice that they create “walls” with the use of thoughtfully angled furniture. While banks in the past often didn’t incorporate seating for those who were doing lengthier transactions, you’ll find that modern branches are incorporating coffee lounges right in the lobby by placing furniture at angles that section the lounge off from the rest of the lobby, without it becoming an entirely separate room.

One of the major challenges that bank design/builders face is thoughtfully incorporating technology spaces. So much of our daily banking needs are now handled through automated systems, ATMs, and computers. While the architect is, generally speaking, not concerned with the specifics of the technology that will be incorporated, they are responsible for creating a beautiful space to display and store the technology. For example, a bank may have a station built where customers can login to their accounts on tablets and check out what the bank has to offer. This space needs to feel efficient, but welcoming, and architects can achieve that by thoughtful use of color and shape.

Your best bet for a beautiful bank is finding bank design/builders that have experience with the message that modern banking is trying to communicate. If that’s your mission, look no further than Vanman Architects and Builders. With over 60 years of experience creating the spaces where you work and play, we are well-prepared to create a financial space that fits your budget and your needs.