For a prototype design, the opportunity for tweaks and enhancements allows one branch to be transformed into a unique reflection of the others. Tinker Federal Credit Union recently opened a new branch on SW 134th Street and Interstate 44 in Oklahoma City. Architectural firm Trinity Group Architects, Oklahoma City, took a prototype and further developed it to make a standard banking branch something to notice - with the help of curved framing products from Flex-Ability Concepts.
"The credit union wanted to create a hip and current design using curves and inviting forms within the facility," said Kevin Galliart, NCARB, with the firm. "Although the same prototype has been used for four to five years, they are moving away from a boxy, square or rectangle feel."
The curves were created using 3 5/8-inch, 20-gauge Flex-C Trac. Flex-C Trac from Flex-Ability Concepts is made of galvanized steel and is available in 20, 18 and 16 gauges in a wide variety of metal framing widths. The framing was installed on the ceiling as overhead turndowns, or clouds. The overhead curves accentuate a station within each area, such as personal finance or mortgages. A large 50-foot arch is an impressive detail above the security desk.
Flex-C Trac was installed by Baldwin Acoustic, Oklahoma City. Lee Smith, assistant superintendent with the general contractor, Titus Construction, Oklahoma City, said the system is easy to use even though his company had never worked with it. Some crew members had trepidations about precisely assembling the system on the ground before hoisting it into the air and onto the ceiling. Galliart noted that he hears this often on projects with curved walls, but the talk goes away once people start working with the products. He commented: "People seem to panic when they see a curve in a spec because they want it to be exact. I tell them to have fun with curves because they don't have to be precise. There is no magic about it." While there may be leeway in the curving and installation process, Flex-Ability Concept products can easily achieve precise dimensions.
The credit union has a brick facade with a standing-seam metal roof that gives the building a solid feel. The architect noted that the lighter and brighter colors used on the inside accentuate the curves, making the interior inviting. The branch opened in March 2015.