RATIO’s work featured in 2016 Retail Banking Branch Design Showcase
RATIO wrote this on Apr 05

Along with other financial brands featured from around the world, the Financial Brand’s 2016 photo gallery of  banking branch design concepts includes only 2 from Canada.  Both are based in BC and designed by RATIO.

Here is what the Financial Brand had to say about our credit union branch design projects for Island Savings and Salmon Arm Savings & Credit Union.

Island Savings – Naturally Sophisticated

This design palette for this branch draws heavily on natural materials, combining wood and glass to create a slightly upscale sense of sophistication. Despite all the hard surfaces, it still has a warm and welcoming feeling.

Salmon Arm Savings – Contemporary Lodge

The planning, materials and form are inspired by the natural and manmade characteristics of the site’s surroundings. The long angular green roof reaches up to the sky and organizes the entire building along the active pedestrian street front. Superior energy performance was achieved with the introduction of “earth tubes” that use the ground below to aid in both heating and cooling of the building.”

Island Savings and SASCU: projects with communities  and the future in mind

The Island Savings project included defining a new operational model and a branch-wide rebrand, using theoretical models to forecast requirements across a diverse set of communities and developing a consistent design concept for all current and future locations. The redesigned branches utilize regional materials with sustainability in mind. As importantly, they are designed for clarity, transparency and serve as a catalyst for building healthy communities.

With Salmon Arm Savings & Credit Union’s flagship branch, RATIO set the template and design system for all future locations.  The predominant use of wood was instrumental in this project. In addition to offsetting the building’s carbon footprint, the use of wood and wood systems allowed the project to use a very local labour pool of carpenters, trades, and skill that contributed directly to the local manufacturing, supply chains and business of the interior of BC economy.

RATIO has deep expertise in working with credit unions.

Our team  has provided architectural, interior design and planning services to credit unions for over 50 years.  See our Distinctive Thinking piece on  how Credit Union community branch design helps deliver on brand promise and high-value transactions. Recent and ongoing projects include: Island Savings Branch of the Future, award winning design on the downtown branch of Salmon Arm Savings & Credit Union, refresh of Greater Vancouver Community Credit Union’s brand and branch template, integrated consulting on all Vancity branches and the  forward-thinking branch concept  for First West Credit Union through their Envision Financial brand.

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Workspace design: taking the long view
RATIO wrote this on Mar 31

As a result of the evidence building around workplace productivity, healthier workplace environments, changing work styles and demographics; and the increasing the cost of real estate, workplace design must take a longer view. A breadth of research is providing objective analysis on which to base design decisions. These dynamic conditions are opportunities for progressive employers to differentiate themselves, creating optimal conditions for hiring top talent and employee retention.


DISTINCTIVE THINKING: How to achieve the long view with a new workspace design

Choose a design partner who has expertise in change management

Strategically engage the whole team in the process

Select a design partner that can provide a start-to-finish solution.

The process should start with information gathering and analysis: everything from current workplace environment, operational efficiencies, overarching corporate goals for the future, marketplace competitors, and brand.

Design with flexibility in mind so workplace can easily evolve to changing needs

Leverage sustainability benchmarking to ensure a healthy work environment

Workplace change is a profound adjustment for employees. Companies need a designer who is versed in change management strategies.  For a transition to be successful, a top down process will not work. Your designer should work collaboratively  with your team and incorporate strategies such as visioning sessions and peer engagement to minimize employee stress and resistance.Your design partner will ideally work with you through all project phases from programming and design through procurement, construction administration, and post occupancy analysis. During the construction phase, a full service design firm works as your advocate, reviewing work on site, proactively managing changes and vetting Contractors’ progress draws. All of this ensures a well-coordinated design and construction process, resulting in a successful workspace project.

Office of the Future – A Centre of Excellence for RATIO

Over the last several years at RATIO, we have focused our attention on the changing workplace and how we can help our clients plan spaces that will adapt to future needs. It is anticipated that over the next decade we will see an unprecedented change in the way we work as a result of many factors including larger socio-economic shifts, changing age demographics, rising real estate costs and the need to build a more sustainable future. We work with our clients to ensure that their workspaces are healthy, productive and inspiring; and will be easily adaptable to changing needs.


See our workspace projects:

Vancity Credit Union

Salmon Arm savings & Credit Union, Uptown

Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences


Related News posts:

Workspace design: how to enhance productivity & stimulate creativity

Workspace design can impact creativity and innovation


External resources on workplace design:




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