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Retail Traffic

EDITOR'S LETTER: Past, Present, Future

Welcome to Retail Traffic’s first ever Annual Review of Retail Architecture.

Here you will find thoughts, ideas, project examples and more examining the past, present and future of retail design.

Here at Retail Traffic, we’ve always emphasized analyzing design trends as a key part of our mission to cover all aspects of the retail real estate industry. We’ve looked to architects to talk about the challenges of integrating multiple uses into one project and at how their experiences designing abroad have changed the way they look at projects here.

Through our history, we’ve also strived to recognize excellence in the field. And in this issue you will find our 18th annual Superior Achievement in Design and Imaging (SADI) awards. In the past, we’ve handed those out in May. This year we coupled the awards with another Retail Traffic standby, Leaders in Retail Architecture. That supplement, as always, is a guide to some of the top firms designing retail projects today. This year 24 firms participated in the supplement.

Those two packages alone provide a meaty look at retail architecture. But we’ve also added a few other goodies to create a full issue dedicated to the architects and designers shaping the industry’s future.

Most significantly, we’ve teamed up with the American Institute of Architects, who, through their burgeoning Retail and Entertainment Knowledge Community, developed a treatise identifying three key trends to watch out for moving forward. Green building, the continued evolution of mixed-use projects and the challenge of integrating familiar retail concepts into urban locations are the key challenges they see for retail architects in the coming years.

What all these ideas have in common is that they will force architects to press developers and retailers to push ahead and do things outside the norm. New materials and techniques will be developed, to make projects environmently-friendly and energy efficient. Retailers, meanwhile, will need to break their cookie-cutter molds and have to stretch and twist their concepts if they want to locate in urban settings. Lastly, though mixed-use has become an extremely popular property type, there is still a lot to be learned in how to situate different uses in the same buildings (or even adjacent ones) and keep everyone happy at the same time.

The other piece of this issue is a special supplement developed by Westfield Group that looks both backwards and forwards. The piece examines trends in redevelopment and provides profiles of projects that were particularly well-executed.

We hope you enjoy this supplement. And if you have ideas on how to make this package even better and more informative next year, don’t hesitate to drop me a line at [email protected]

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