If the new EcoBuilding Bargains’ exterior grabs your attention as you whiz down Armory Street – that’s what we’re intending. This is a high traffic corridor and not all the traffic will be coming to the store. They may be curious about the new construction on Warwick Street. We’d like them to know what’s up and be curious enough to stop by for a visit. For returning customers used to finding the store on Albany Street, the arresting green and white exterior will orient them to the new location.
But the building’s design is not just about bringing in customers, it’s also about showing how you can give new life to an older inefficient building. We definitely aim to show that repurposing older commercial buildings can be exciting!
This year, EcoBuilding Bargains, formerly known as the ReStore, changed its look. A new logo, a new name, and a new tagline – “recycled stuff from floors to doors” – were developed so that people would have a better sense of what the store offers. Many design decisions — from the super-sized logo to the insulated metal panel colors to the recycled and repurposed materials in the vestibule — reinforce these exciting changes.
The exterior facade design highlights the most dramatic change in the building: the use of 3” thick insulated metal panels to wrap the old brick warehouse. Although insulated metal panels are not uncommon on commercial buildings, you may be more familiar with them as the exterior cladding used for cold storage buildings and food processing plants. Here they were combined with 7 ½” of repurposed roof insulation to economically create a new “envelope” for the older building.
From a design standpoint, the panels extend up at the corner and are wrapped by CET’s logos to increase visibility from the nearby intersection. Working with the standard color choices, panel colors are varied to break down the scale of the building and to demonstrate a complete transformation into a modern, recognizable retail environment.
A guiding principle in all of my work is that every design move has to do double-duty. In this case, we located the single “peek-a-boo” window for maximum impact. Due to structural and economic constraints, we were only allowed one window.
The location at the corner permits approaching visitors to see what’s happening inside. Customers on the inside get a welcome view out to the newly-planted, colorful, and low-maintenance hillside. At the same time, the thickness of the opening around the window reveals the layering of the new metal panels onto the old brick building.
The design goal was to have the envelope not only improve the building’s performance, but also convey the non-profit’s goals to customers and passersby.
Be sure to come by and check out the view!
Caryn Brause, Principal SITELAB Architecture + Design
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