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When a client's stated purpose is to inspire, educate and outfit others for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship, it only seems appropriate—if not required—that the design of its new prototype store reflect the company's commitment to environmental stewardship through sustainable design and construction. That was certainly Gensler's approach for the design of a new retail space for Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), a national retail cooperative providing quality outdoor gear and clothing.
"REI challenged us to raise the bar in terms of how their store and brand experience could better serve the community and the environment. The new store design creates a sense of community for both REI members and non-members, and reflects REI's leadership in environmental design," says Ted Jacobs, Gensler's design director for the project.
Located in Boulder, CO, the 42,000-square-foot store was designed to serve as a working laboratory to analyze the performance of green building features and new retail concepts, with an elevated community center that serves as the focal point of the store. A renovation and expansion of the co-op's existing Boulder location, the facility is designed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver standards for commercial interiors, and is part of REI's involvement in the LEED for Retail pilot program.
The overall design scheme is meant to be reminiscent of nature, and is reflected in the exterior architecture and interior design elements. The store's façade incorporates visual cues of earthen strata, thick forest canopies, and a towering pinnacle.
REI's commitment to reduce its environmental footprint is translated through the store design in the use of green materials and building techniques, including aggressive daylight harvesting systems that will reduce the store's energy consumption and allow for more natural daylight over in-store lighting. By utilizing Solatubes, highly reflective funnel-shaped tubes that channel daylight from the roof throughout the store, the building will save approximately 20 percent in its energy costs—the annual equivalent of powering up to three houses. Additionally, a centrally-located glass atrium skylight lets in sunlight while monitoring and capturing the sun's energy to power the store through technology called building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). This solar roof monitor is the first installation of building integrated photovoltaics of its kind in a retail environment.
Other sustainable highlights include floors, perimeter walls, fixtures, displays, benches, and tabletops made of green materials such as bamboo, recycled rubber and cork.
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The store's façade incorporates visual cues of earthen strata, thick forest canopies, and a towering pinnacle.Photo by Paul Brokering (larger image)
The overall design scheme is meant to be reminiscent of nature, and is reflected in the exterior architecture and interior design elements. Photo by Benny Chan/Fotoworks (larger image)
Sustainable highlights of the project include floors, perimeter walls, fixtures, displays, benches, and tabletops made of green materials such as bamboo, recycled rubber and cork. Photo by Benny Chan/Fotoworks (larger image)
New fixtures custom-designed by Gensler efficiently display and store the vast array of merchandise that REI carries, from shoes and clothing to tents and fishing tackle.Photo by Benny Chan/Fotoworks (larger image)
By utilizing Solatubes, highly reflective funnel-shaped tubes that channel daylight from the roof throughout the store, the building will save approximately 20 percent in its energy costs. Photo by Benny Chan/Fotoworks (larger image)
Above & Below: The store's new design incorporates an elevated community center-a 2,000- square-foot space solely dedicated to serve as a resource for the community to learn more about the outdoors and opportunities to protect shared natural spaces, as well as provide a venue for events, presentations, and demonstrations by REI or one of its many community partners. Photos by Paul Brokering (larger images - above & below)
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Recreational Equipment Inc.
REI Store Development
6750 S. 228th St.
Kent, WA 98032
Two Harrison St., Ste. 400
San Francisco, CA 94105
Ted Jacobs, design principal
Ray Shick, principal
Zsofia Kondor, project manager
Bill Nelson, project architect
Karen Skillin, job captain/project manager
Daniel Gonzales, job captain
Vivian Volz, specifier
Westwood Contractors Inc.
Architecture & Light
SOLAR POWER & RENEWABLE ENERGY
Solar Design Associates Inc.