Shopping has become a national pastime! The retail sector has seen a major growth over the past number of years, with the debate raging as to whether existing provision within town and city centres should be strengthened to retain their vitality, set against the convenience of out of town supermarkets and outlet stores.
Our practice experience and indeed interest lies primarily in the former area. We completed a major in town development on a brownfield site in central Portadown in the 1980's which we are presently extending. This led to our introduction to Westfield Shoppingtowns, one of the world's foremost retailers, for whom we put together a regeneration masterplan for the Millgate Centre in Bury, and renovated their Castlecourt Centre in Belfast, in addition to preparing proposals for a major (500,000 sqft) extension of this property.
Within the fit-out field we have completed a number of individual retail units, including the award winning James Nicholson's Wine shop in Crossgar, and have successfully delivered new build and refurbishment projects throughout Ireland for the major retailer Heaton's.
The practice has developed, through experience, a working understanding and knowledge of the key fundamental elements of successful retail design which include:
- * Maximisation of lettable space
- * Layout flexibility to permit a variety of changing configurations for tenant adaptation
- * Simple 'route making' and way finding with the planners changing their thinking from mall developments to a more European model of covered streets, these issues have become even more important considerations
- * Designing to budgetary constraints which vary with location and anticipated rental returns
- * Creation of a 'place' providing a unique identity but with a controlling hierarchy thus enabling and encouraging the individuality of retailing organisations to enhance the architecture