[caption id="attachment_66422" align="alignnone" width="597"] Luther Burbank Savings headquarters branch nears completion in downtown Santa Rosa.[/caption]

Location: 106 B St., Santa Rosa

Owner: Burbank Investor Services, Inc.

Design: structure -- TLCD Architecture; landscape -- Quadriga

General contractor: Wright Contracting, Inc.

Engineering: civil -- Brelje & Race Consulting Engineers; structural -- ZFA Structural Engineers; mechanical and plumbing -- TEP; electrical - Suite 16

Consultants: cost estimating -- Amari and Associates; energy -- Sol-Data Energy Consulting

SANTA ROSA -- When Luther Burbank Savings approached Santa Rosa's TLCD Architecture to design a new flagship branch in downtown Santa Rosa, the lender said it wanted more than simply a beautiful building.

"They said they wanted something artistic at one of the main entry points for the city. We, as architects, get really excited when we hear something like that," said Don Tomasi, senior principal at TLCD.

Opened in December, the lender's new branch features unique architectural approaches rarely seen in the United States. Under construction since September 2011, the 7,885-square-foot structure seeks to meld progressive urban design with the warm natural materials employed in Luther Burbank's other branches and offices throughout California.

Pivotal to the building's appearance are the wooden panels on its exterior, an aesthetic element that uses hidden fasteners to conceal a waterproof membrane beneath. Only one other building in the United States has employed the technique, which uses panels manufactured by Spanish company Parklex.

With a color chosen to match the cherry wood of interior furniture, the panels also increase the apparent size of the branch. The exterior also includes artistic glass panels by Santa Rosa's Ellen Blakeley, echoing flora from nearby Luther Burbank Gardens.

Design elements continue to the parking lot, modified from a layout that inspired criticism for some shoppers at the Traverso's Market that formerly sat at the site. Colored concrete tiles were used, along with stones inherited after the renovation of San Francisco's Union Square. Trees used as part of the project's landscaping also serve double-duty as support for lighting in the area.

"They make the parking lot almost a sculptural presence," Mr. Tomasi said. "We wanted the arrival sequence to be very elegant."

Builders used the former Traverso's building as the base for the new two-story branch, increasing the size by over 1,000 square feet. By virtue of the layering of additional aesthetic features, the building also enjoys highly effective insulation, Mr. Tomasi said.