It's a "Vision Thing." (Using Computer Aided Design to Plan Bank Facilities)

Article excerpt

Want to move a wall?

Manipulate a teller line for maximum space utilization? How about adding an ATM to accommodate higher lobby traffic?

Believe it or not, these changes don't require any heavy lifting (not initially, anyway). Nowadays, changing a bank's existing facilities, or even creating a new branch, can be decided upon and manipulated with just a personal computer and a few hours of a banker's day.

The advent of portable PCs and computer-aided design technology--software that can move objects and alter shapes and images in an instant, and more often than not in 3-D--is bringing designers, laptops in hand, to bankers' doors.

Just as the computer has infiltrated the ranks of the banking industry, it is being used both to develop plans and to present them to clients in the industrial design, architecture, interior design, and engineering disciplines.

"We can create an ATM lobby and put you right in it, very quickly, on screen," says Curtis Wayne, president, Wayne Architects, P.C., Greenwich, Conn.

"Have a seat, I'll walk you through" On-line design presentation tools can literally walk a banker through a branch, on the PC screen, showing him or her what would be seen from a head teller station, for instance, or from an ATM vestibule--at the brush of a keystroke.

The technology itself is fairly simple. But it does require the presenter to have "a lot of experience to conduct the ideas sessions" with bankers, explains Wayne. Unlike in the past, when an architect went back to the drawing board after the first of several grueling "idea meetings," with this front-end technology "you have to think on your feet, and a lot of democracy is involved," Wayne notes.

At least one bank has taken this democracy straight to its branch managers. When Fleet Bank of Hartford, Conn., decided to move one of its branches to an abandoned bank across the street, it invited the branch manager of the location to be in on the design presentation meeting. …

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