“This building was designed to fit elegantly into a busy downtown corner and provide visual and physical sustenance to those who pass through.” Gwynne Pugh, Principal, Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (PRWEB) November 01, 2017
The concept driving the new Capital One Café in downtown Santa Monica is the idea of creating ‘a third place’ within an architecturally dynamic building. This is a destination, outside of people’s homes and workplaces where they can meet socially, for business meetings, drink coffee and experience one-of-a-kind banking.
The sleek, modern building was designed by local firm Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio (GP-US) and houses both the bank and a café. The project represents Capital One’s new concept in banking, eschewing traditional tellers behind a counter in favor of a more communal space with mobile financial advisers available to assist bank clients and non-clients alike. As GP-US Principal Gwynne Pugh puts it, “This building was designed to fit elegantly into this busy downtown corner, and to provide visual and physical sustenance to those who pass through.” The Capital One website says, “We believe banking should fit your everyday life—It’s an inviting, comfortable place where you can get some banking done, enjoy tasty Peet’s® beverages and local snacks—or just hang out with some on-the-house Wi-Fi.”
This more community-driven concept is reinforced by the design, which blends in seamlessly with its surroundings. The low-rise, 8,400 SF two-story building echoes the character of a mid-century bank while bringing a more modern design aesthetic. The structure was designed so that the corner was opened up and made into an indoor-outdoor space that responded to this busy downtown corner. The indoor-outdoor qualities are enhanced by the folding doors that open up the inside to the outside. The forms consist of folded planes that wrap down, fold back, then along and up. These planes are all made of glazed brick and smooth trowel plaster. The interstitial space is held together by horizontal louvers. These louvers shade the south facing glass. The interior is kept cool by the thermal mass and the shading of the glass.
The interior, designed by IA Interior Architects, is open and light. A café serving Peet’s Coffee and locally-sourced pastries sits at one end of the lobby, with a variety of seating and communal workspace options dominating the bulk of the space. At the other end of the lobby is where visitors can find Capital One employees ready to help. Behind these employees are small rooms with sliding doors that can be used for private consultations, as well as conference rooms that can be reserved by non-profits and other organizations.
Pugh has spent his career committed to the idea of architecture as a tool for placemaking and community-building, as evidenced by the multitude of projects he’s worked on in the immediate vicinity. Just down the street from the bank, at 5th Street & Colorado Ave., sit a pair of GP-US-designed hotels, which opened earlier this spring. The hotels sit adjacent to Step Up on Fifth, a non-profit housing complex serving people suffering from mental illness and homelessness, and across the street from Colorado Court, an affordable housing complex. This cluster of projects is representative of Gwynne’s longstanding relationship with the City of Santa Monica, in which he has lived and worked for over 35 years.
Owner: Century West Partners
Architect (core and shell): Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio
Interior Design: IA Interior Architects
Structural Engineer: John A. Martin & Associates
M & P Engineer: E2Di
Electrical Engineer: Eric Percic
Civil Engineering: KPFF Engineers
General Contractor: W.E. O’Neil
All photos credit: John Linden
Greg Rodgers, Marketing Manager
Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio
2800 28th Street, Suite 171
Santa Monica, CA 90405