Front & Center
Retail Development and Design by Catherine Gavin, Editor
ne of the primary challenges of retail design today is the need to create an experience — a reason for people to leave their smartphones and computer screens. Good design sets the stage for this experience; it creates atmosphere and allows for the functionality and flexibility necessary for a store to be successful. But sometimes retail design can go beyond just creating an interesting clean space for product presentation. Dallas’ NorthPark Center and the Galleria in Houston were both pioneering shopping centers of the 20th century. Raymond Nasher and Gerald Hines realized the value of these malls
PHOTOS COURTESY NORTHPARK CENTER AND OMNIPLAN
Retail design can go beyond just creating an interesting clean space for product presentation.
The annual ARTsPARK continues Raymond Nasher’s vision of NorthPark Center as a community space that goes beyond the shopping experience. The festival brings artists, musicians, and actors to the mall for a day of activities centered on local contemporary arts.
of local businesses is written into the city plan. The role of retail development within the urban fabric is turned on its side, however, when individual stores and shopping malls are shuttered and abandoned. Projects like the McAllen Public Library — formerly a Walmart — demonstrate that bringing new life to these buildings is just as important as creating new stores, because an occupied building contributes to the life of a community or street. of our community at Texas Architect has benefitted from the arrival of Monica Cavazos Mendez. A Harvard-educated San Benito native, she joins us from New York, where she was senior manager of professional communications at CancerCare for almost six years. She is contributing to this magazine as an assistant editor, and is the communications coordinator for the Texas Society of Architects. Happily, the life
as destinations for the public that could offer much more than just a shopping experience — their vision looked beyond the sale of products to a sense of place. And the projects featured in this issue tend to share this intent. Met Retail in Austin breaks from typical highway architecture and fast-food chain interiors to create a notable building framing an unexpected view of the downtown skyline. Keepers, Eliza Page, and Rogue Running are three local stores that helped launch the revitalization of downtown Austin almost eight years ago. And today amidst development pressures , these stores remind you that you’re still in Austin, where the value
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