New Work: M&T Bank
Lorenzo Apicella was asked to design a new flagship branch building for M&T Bank that would capture the essence of M&T’s core values with a design that would endure well into the future, differentiating M&T from its competitors with a distinct and compelling image.
It was agreed that this flagship branch, located in West Seneca, New York, would be the model for all future branch construction and renovation. As an architectural prototype the branch design needed to be adaptable to variable future site conditions and business needs. It also had to meet M&T’s environmental goal of having a low carbon footprint, consuming as little energy as possible and producing minimal amounts of waste. The completed building is anticipated to achieve an LEED Gold rating.
One of the primary architectural elements of the new building is a light, white colonnade. It was inspired in part by M&T’s own iconic headquarters building in downtown Buffalo designed by Minoru Yamasaki. Spare and modern, its forms and rhythms are intended to consciously recall a classical language of architecture familiar to banks and established financial institutions over hundreds of years.
The proportions of the colonnade and a high degree of transparency into the branch create an inviting, approachable exterior. Through the colonnade, under a projecting entrance canopy, M&T’s personality is communicated by branded interiors that aim to convey engaged and attentive customer service. At the centre is a tall, spacious banking hall with a circular raised ceiling punctuated by skylights – a memorable point of arrival and orientation for all those experiencing the M&T brand.
Intentionally more contemporary and energetic in form compared with M&T’s previous branches, this flagship building represents the M&T identity three dimensionally through the application of its brand colours and materials.
In pursuit of the bank’s environmental goals the completed project makes extensive use of natural light with two primary full-height glass perimeter walls and three large skylights in the central banking hall. The interior lighting solution uses a combination of fluorescent lamps, ceramic metal halide lamps and LEDs. Light sensors monitor sunlight levels and dim the artificial lighting in spaces with sufficient sunlight.
An automated control system constantly monitors heating, cooling and ventilation using carbon dioxide monitoring to control fresh air ventilation and a ‘free-cooling’ mode that draws cool air at night to pre-cool the building. Heating is provided by 97% gas-fired hot water boilers, and the exterior walls are made with a highly insulated recyclable steel panel system.
Design Team: Lorenzo Apicella, Matthew Clare, Anders Carpenter, Colleen Wittman.