summer SUSTAINABILITY course in session!

Monday, April 28, 2014


Building Types we are investigating:

    1.  #005 Residential
    2. #006 Agricultural 
    3. #007 Shops, Mews & Restaurants
    4. #008 Public Buildings (last week)
    5.  #009 Commercial Buildings (today!)
    6.  #010 Industrial Buildings
    7.  #011 Sports Buildings, Theaters & Churches

    Walmart (Tuscarawas) Canton
    Image courtesy of Nicholas Eckhart via Flickr
    Architecturally, the main difference between the shops in lesson seven and what we're looking at today is scale.  


    The trend in retail seems to be to get bigger and bigger.  Big box stores are set back from big roads with big parking lots to house the vehicles that can haul away mountains of purchases.

    Uninterrupted Interiors

    Super Kmart Center in Cambridge, Ohio
    Image courtesy of Nicholas Eckhart via Flickr
    The most important concern for these stores is to have a large interior space uninterrupted by walls.  This means an enormous yet lightweight roof and a field of smallish columns camouflaged within the shelving.

    Lack of Windows

    Less important is the traditional method of advertising: the shop window.  These stores do not use windows almost at all, whether for advertisement, lighting or views out.  In fact, they use the lure of their signage to get you inside and hope you forget about leaving for a long time!

    Whole Foods Market, Washington D.C.
    Image courtesy of Elvert Barnes via Flickr
    There are a some exceptions, of course.  I particularly notice them in the high-end or organic groceries, which may prefer to elicit associations with markets more than big box stores.

    Unforeseen Consequences

    On the exterior, a lack of windows can create areas where there are no natural sightlines and pedestrian security can be compromised at the perimeter, so don't be wandering around the backside of your neighborhood Walmart.

    Historic Railpark Museum in Bowling Green, KY
    Image courtesy of koningDesign Flickr
    Side Note:
    Most large buildings make an effort to appeal to sidewalk traffic, or at least provide something interesting to look at.  Windows & doors are best, but landscaping works, and there are a variety of architectural details that can enrich the pedestrian experience.

    Homework #009

    Visit a commercial building.  Notice some of the elements mentioned above.  No need to report back on this one, unless you note something remarkable!

    This Week's Q&A #009

    Kathy: "Why do big box buildings have no design?"

    Ally: See the answer above.  :)


    No comments:

    Post a Comment