Bank Helps Planned Development Build Community Ties

Oct. 11, 2021

A new branch for First Federal Bank of Florida puts an industrial twist on basic gabled designs to create a quirky, inviting building that is highlighted with standing-seam metal panels used for both the roof and walls.

Wildlight, Fla.
Dasher Hurst Architects

Developers of the new 2,900-acre community of Wildlight in northeast Florida, about 20 miles north of Jacksonville, are emphasizing historic styles for buyers’ homes and townhomes. The new bank branch is sited within the community’s burgeoning village center, which also includes a supermarket along with a number of restaurants and retailers.


Designers with the Jacksonville office of Dasher Hurst Architects were given a few guidelines from the community, which included emphasizing walkability and bike-friendliness in the commercial area, according to firm principal Tom Hurst, aia. These included siting the building close to the front property line. Elements like front porches that spur personal interactions and provide some relief from the Florida sun also are encouraged.

However, Hurst says First Federal gave his team a pretty open hand when it came to their own corporate requirements, since they didn’t have their own prototype style for local branches, and were hoping for something a bit more modern than previous facilities. 

“It was important to them that the architecture fit into the new neighborhood, which included other commercial buildings with a decidedly ‘industrial’ aesthetic,” he says, adding that there was a bit of
tension to also ensure ‘industrial’ didn’t equate to unwelcoming.


The most dramatic element in that palette are the standing-seam panels, which run vertically up the top half of the walls and gable ends and continue up the roof in an effort to accentuate the gabled volume, Hurst says. “We wanted the building to feel like a solid, extruded object, rather than separate walls and roof—to achieve this, we needed a material that would work equally well for both,” he says. “Standing-seam metal is one of the few materials that fit this situation. The dark color was selected to create a strong visual anchor to the building and to complement the other lighter and warmer materials.”

The architects turned to Petersen and its Snap-Clad panels in their specifications, with a total of 5,000 sq. ft. of 24-gauge panels in the company’s Graphite finish used in the project.


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