The Sebastopol Design Review Board recently gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up to our design for Exchange Bank’s new Sebastopol branch. Exchange Bank challenged TLCD to come up with a design that both reflects the Bank’s forward-looking practices, while feeling at home in Sebastopol, consistent with their longstanding presence in the Sebastopol community.
An informal inventory of existing buildings in town demonstrated a diverse, eclectic range of architectural styles. In the absence of a singular style to guide the design, the design team elected to instead investigate Sebastopol’s rich agricultural past and considered influences as diverse as the apple and wine industries, barns and even Luther Burbank’s experimental farm. “The design concept clicked with a modern interpretation of the agricultural heritage that is Sebastopol. Form and texture in nature became one of the guiding principles for this project,” shared Project Architect Jeff Blechel.
Without being too literal, building and landscape materials were selected to feel appropriate to Sebastopol’s setting and consistent with the context. One key component of the building exterior is the OkoSkin (rain screen) cladding which provides a variegated texture and a soft, rich feel. These panels were selected to recall traditional agrarian materials such as weathered barn boards, apple crates and rural fencing in a very abstract and subtle manner. Windows, exterior wood poles, weathered steel landscape materials, and plantings have all been selected to support the design approach.
It’s very gratifying to be acknowledged by Sebastopol’s Design Review Board and our client, Exchange Bank for the degree of thoughtfulness and design innovation for this new branch building. We look forward to moving ahead to the next phase of this project.