From Scotland to Stamford

Thursday 05 Nov 2009

New RBS headquarters completes in Connecticut

The Royal Bank of Scotland chose the 3.4 acre site for three principal reasons; its visual impact on the most travelled highway in the Northeast US, its proximity to an urban transportation hub, and for its ability to make a sustainable statement for the Bank’s new Americas Headquarters consistent with its Global policies. Programmatically, the client rejected the typical US tower solution to banking. Instead, the challenge was to design narrow and elongated floor plates allowing for daylight for inhabitants, common spaces not typically found in American buildings to foster interaction and communality, and a visual presence on the outside of the trading floor which is the heart of this Stamford, Connecticut facility.

As a design composition the 1.1 million sq ft of program, which houses nearly 3000 persons, was built upon a number of constituent parts and urban responses with facades presenting no apparent 'back door' to the public. The sweeping gesture of the curved front façade responds to the highway. Its skin facing the traffic gains texture through the use of terracotta rain screen panels and fly-by glass elements. The three-storey arcade establishes an urban scale while mitigating the mass of the required parking. With 6 "J" shaped office floors stacked above the arcade and parking, a large outdoor courtyard is created. Its surrounding façade employs similar materials from the outer wall, but introduces an entirely new, more appropriate language to the pedestrian experience.

The urban courtyard also serves as the roof for the 2 story trading floor, which is open to the 6 story glazed atrium, which contains escalators and meeting spaces. The 60,000 sq ft amenities floor ties the composition together at courtyard level, offering dining, retail, and fitness facilities that spill out onto the roof top garden. The atrium acts as a vertical 'town hall' connecting the occupants during trips to the amenities floor, and serving as an active, impromptu meeting space. The sustainable design includes operable louvers in the trading floor that adjust automatically to the conditions, interior daylight dimming systems linked to all office space lighting, greywater collection at the rooftop courtyard and native adaptive species. The Royal Bank of Scotland Americas Headquarters was awarded LEED Gold status and completed in March 2009.

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