THE THIRD IN A THREE-PART SERIES
Community-oriented, pedestrian-friendly destinations offering retail and entertainment amenities, lifestyle centers are designed to evolve and retain their vibrancy over time. For that reason, there is no one solution for the variety of lifestyle, open-air and mixed-use developments. Instead we refer to a set of principles to guide us.
THE SECOND IN A THREE PART SERIES
Lifestyle centers have emerged as a popular alternative to the traditional shopping mall—community-oriented, pedestrian-friendly destinations offering both retail and entertainment amenities, they are designed to evolve and retain their vibrancy over time.
This year marks the return of the AIA 2x8 exhibition. I am honored to have been a part of the committee to design and re-launch such an influential and vital platform showcasing the next generation of designers and architects.
THE FIRST IN A THREE PART SERIES
As the retail landscape is transformed by consumer choice and market forces, lifestyle centers have emerged as a popular alternative to the traditional shopping mall — they are community-oriented, pedestrian-friendly destinations offering both retail and entertainment amenities.
After listening to several sessions at the recent ICSC Western Conference, I jotted down a few key take-ways.
That brick-and-mortar retail, the kind of stores that have been principal players on the retail stage for decades, have been struggling is not new news. While the recent spate retail bankruptcies and store closings make the headlines, the true state of affairs is far more complex and optimistic. A research report from the IHL Group shows that big chains are opening more stores than they are closing, small retailers continue to open shops and sales are up more than $120 billion over last year. Nonetheless, smart retailers and developers recognize that business as usual no longer works and are exploring new formats, different locations, and innovative uses for out-of-date properties— all with an eye on customer experience.
When a new campus student center and bookstore complex was still on the wish list for East Los Angeles College (ELAC), the Los Angeles Community College District recognized the need for thorough evaluation of the needs and wants of many groups who would be using what was envisioned to be a multi-use complex at the heart of the Monterey Park campus. The District engaged STIR Architecture to develop a full program and design criteria for the building.
"You want to be an architect? Oh, like Ted Mosby." That was a common response I received throughout my college career whenever I shared that I was studying architecture.
No, not like Ted Mosby.
“I was a LEGO child!” This may be the biggest cliché answer from any aspiring architect to the constantly asked question of what inspired them to pursue a career in architecture. While this love for LEGOs was something that I did have since about the age of three, I have never attributed it as the inspiration behind my curiosity in the field. Two decades later though, I would find out how the idea of Legos connected back in a very unique way.
A new series of group learning sessions at STIR Architecture began this summer with the first of a two-part presentation by partner Gary Dempster, FAIA: The Owner/Architect Relationship and the Architect’s place in a project's organizational structure.
Being part of STIR has given me many opportunities to grow. On a daily basis, I get to use new skills that I have learned as part of my contribution to projects. Teamwork, efficiency, and clarity are key to working on group projects and I have come to appreciate my team’s willingness to entrust everyone with the freedom to test ideas. Everyone gets a chance to design and demonstrate their creativity.
I’m not great at taking tests. And it seems like the more time passes after you’re done with school, the harder it is to get back in the study mode. I have a million excuses why I didn’t take my tests as soon as I was able; basically life got in the way. But if I could give my younger self advice I would say don’t wait! Start now, get it done, the testing only gets harder and you are cheating yourself of better opportunities.
I was fortunate to attend this year’s ICSC RECon 2017 convention. Attending the convention, which boasted over 37,000 attendees, 1200 exhibitors, inspiring key speakers, informative sessions, and the potential to make the deal, has been a goal of mine.