A Former Big Box Center Is Transformed for Residential Lending Operations

2nd Place, Whole Building

Northpointe Bank, a nationwide provider of innovative and high-value banking products, has been experiencing continued growth in its residential lending offerings. This growth drove demand for a new kind of space, which would assume the role of the national operations hub for Northpointe Bank’s growing lending and servicing groups. Together, the team master-planned an expansive transformation to the former Cascade Commons building, an aging, nearly vacant, 91,000-square-foot big box and design showcase center in Grand Rapids, Mich.

PHOTOS: JJ JETEL PHOTOGRAPHY; BEFORE PHOTOS: GHAFARI ASSOCIATES LLC

Prior to putting pen to paper, the Ghafari Associates team developed a strategic roadmap to better understand Northpointe Bank’s key business drivers that would have a direct impact on the functionality of a workplace and the effectiveness of the people working within. This roadmap offered a holistic understanding of Northpointe Bank’s real estate, people, culture, technology and wellbeing. With this in mind, the design team designed an immersive interior and exterior experience that balances diverse workstyles and high-tech meeting spaces with engaging and expansive social spaces. The environment offers serious focus balanced with fun, meant to be reflective of users’ daily lives and surroundings.

Key to the design’s success is the introduction of vast amounts of natural light, coupled with a design vision that mimics Michigan’s natural beauty and seasonal change. Michigan-inspired wall graphics, colors, and material choices are scattered throughout the building to evoke the adventurous spirit of Michigan and all the different seasonal landscapes it offers. A massive interior skylight spans the entire depth of the building, not only as a vital feature within the building but also symbolic of Northpointe Bank’s future.

In addition to early strategic thinking, a key that made the project a success was the early introduction of the general contractor, Visser Brothers Construction, who also was the contractor for the original Cascade Commons facility. Visser Brothers Construction offered a wealth of history and knowledge of the original building’s design and construction methods.

Northpointe Bank Operations Center is a stunning, flexible, and creative transformation that anticipates the needs of a growing company while accommodating a variety of groups, departments and workstyles. As a dynamic and forward-thinking workplace, this facility continues to elevate Northpointe Bank’s mission “to be the best bank in America by bringing value and innovation to the people and communities they serve while delivering real value through a collaborative, high-performance and diverse company culture.”

“Kudos to the architects and their client, a bank who collaborated with the designers to create a wonderfully natural-light-filled, flexible and inviting workplace for employees. Justly, the inviting interior and exterior environments will prove to be not just good for people, but also good for business.”

Marcy Wong, partner, Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects, Metamorphosis Awards Judge

Retrofit Team

METAMORPHOSIS AWARD WINNER and DESIGNER AND ELECTRICAL, MECHANICAL AND STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Ghafari Associates LLC

  • Michael Lubbers, director of design
  • Matt Christie, AIA, senior designer
  • Adam Nelson, project manager
  • Evan Hansel, designer
  • Deanna Klopcic, interior designer
  • Greg Enos, manager, electrical engineering
  • Scott Bernth, manager, mechanical engineering
  • Jeffrey Mitchell, assistant manager, structural engineering

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Visser Brothers Construction

ACOUSTIC CONSULTANT: Soundscape Engineering LLC

Materials

CARPET TILE: Milliken

LUXURY VINYL TILE: To Market

WOVEN FLOOR MAT: Chilewich

PORCELAIN TILE: Caesar and Ergon

LAMINATE: Wilsonart

SOLID SURFACE: Silestone

QUARTZ COUNTERTOP: Corian

CERAMIC WALL TILE: Crossville

WALLCOVERING: Rebel Walls and Murals Wallpaper

PAINT: Sherwin-Williams

ACOUSTICAL BAFFLES: TURF

ACOUSTICAL PANELS: MDC Interior Solutions

FABRIC ACOUSTICAL PANEL/WALLCOVERING: Wolf Gordon

UPHOLSTERY: Designtex

COFFEE PANTRY BANQUETTE BACK: Carnegie

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