Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Coffee House Research

This week I had to do a site visit to a Coffee House to do some research for a project I am working on.  I had to watch how the customers and employees move through the space, how the layout and finishes work, and what kind of customers come in.  I went to visit a Starbuck's on Sunday afternoon.  There were a few customers that went through the drive-thru in the time I was there, but the majority of people came in to get their drinks.  The customers would come in, go directly to the counter, order their drink, and then mill around looking at the various gift ideas since it is the Christmas season.  There was a couple that came in and sat on the comfy chairs to chat while waiting for their drinks. 

The employees were very cheerful and took care of the customers immediately.  I never saw a line form, or saw a customer have to wait more than a minute or two for their drink.  I did not see anyone buy any of the food items that they offer.  The employees seemed to have little areas that were their own that they pretty much stayed in which kept them from getting in each others way.  Occasionally one of the employees would have to go in the back room for something, I noticed it was always the same employee.  That was also the same employee that was working closest to that door while he was behind the counter.  They seemed very efficient.  The store is kind of skinny and long which made the tables at the front to sit at seem kind of crowded together.  There were two comfy chairs placed near the counter that were a nice touch.  The gift section was set up in a way that was easy to view while standing waiting for your order. 
I noticed that there is a wide variety of people that come in to the store at any time.  While I was there there was a young family with a child that came in, young couples, a young mother with a baby, and a student that set up a little study area complete with her laptop.  There was also a small group of friends that came in together, an older woman, a mother and daughter, and an older man that possibly had come from church and sat down to read the Sunday paper.  The vast majority of people came in, got their drink, and left. 

The neutral color of the walls creates a blank canvas for whatever they want to do in the store.  The dark wood tones of the shelves the gifts are on stands out from the neutral walls very well.  It catches your attention.  The different wood tones of the counter add some interest to the space.  The dark tile floors add a nice contrast while creating a space that is easier to keep looking nice in a high traffic area.  The dark green chairs add a nice pop of color to a neutral palette while not being a bold statement.  They also had very minimal Christmas decorations near the gift items which reminded the customers of their shopping lists.  There are also some tables outside for customers when weather permits.  I know I will be making another visit on Black Friday early in the morning!   
Next week...Inspirational Design

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Design I Think could have been Better

This week I was supposed to find a design I think could have been done better and why.  I actually chose an outdoor space for this.  To me I think the surrounding area of a building is just as important as the interior.  At my campus there is a beautiful area with a waterfall.  You can hear the water and it is very peaceful.  The area is surrounded by trees and plants but there is no benches or a picnic table there.  I think that is the perfect spot for a couple of benches to be able to sit and relax between classes, or even sketch. 

This is the waterfall.

This is the planted area directly in front of the waterfall where I think some benches and maybe a picnic table should be.
 This is a view from the waterfall across the planted area, across the parking lot to some benches.  I think that is part of a smoking area, which is fine that they have benches, but I think that a perfect opportunity for a nice quiet place to sit for non smokers was missed here. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What has inspired me this week?

This week I had the pleasure of being able to visit an amazing piece of architecture in Fort Worth.  The Marty Leonard Chapel.  Every aspect of this design was part of the building.  From the walk up to the chapel to the entry, to the garbage cans.  Everything having to do with this chapel was well thought out in the design.

The chapel diamond shaped designs run throughout all aspects of the building.  I wish we could have stayed longer to watch as the sunset changed the way the light played coming through the windows.

The benches outside the chapel on the walkway and the lights along the walkway are all part of the grand design.

 The planters and stools inside the chapel were designed along with the building as well.  To think about every little detail while designing this amazing piece of architecture is just mind blowing.  There was so much planning and thought that went into this design.  I am inspired to think outside the box, and try to think of the big picture when planning my designs after visiting this wonderful chapel.
Next week...a design I think could have been better...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Career Spotlight

I have chosen to write my blog on a career in historic preservation today.  Historic preservation is a very important career.  So many older buildings have such a deep history that they shouldn't have to die of old age.  Some people renovate and destroy the original splendor of the building.  I would like to have be able to bring back the glory of historic buildings that have become run down.  My grandmother's church just underwent a full interior renovation. 

They didn't change the look of the church.  They gave it a fresh coat of paint.  They repainted the murals on the ceiling.  They refinished the pews.  There was no need to change the church, it just needed to be freshened up.

This is the kind of work I would be proud to do.  Next week...what inspired me this week?