Retail Traffic

2010 SADI Galleries

The regional mall is supposed to be a dead concept. Open-air centers are what customers want. Right?

It turns out that in this case the old dog can be taught new tricks. The story of Retail Traffic's 21st Annual Superior Achievement in Design and Imaging (SADI) awards was surprisingly dominated by enclosed center entries. All three outright category winners had something to do with regional malls — a new center, a renovated one and a food court at a third.

The Grand SADI winner — Dolce Vita Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal (pictured above) — represents a fresh take on what an enclosed center can be. The jury used words like innovative, fresh and intelligent when evaluating the design.

Project architect RTKL took a bold idea — unifying the project under an environmentally-friendly ethylene tetraflouroethylene roof that dominates the structure — and executed it to perfection.

And Dolce Vita Tejo wasn't the only enclosed center to garner honors. RTKL took home a second award for its renovation and expansion of the Chadstone Shopping Centre project in Melbourne, Australia and JPRA Architects won an honorable mention in the same category for its design of Cherry Hill Mall in Cherry Hill, N.J.

In addition, GHA design studios won the New Fast/Casual Dining category with its scheme for the food court at Carrefour Laval in Laval, Canada. Its addition represents a novel take on an often overlooked part of regional malls.

There was no shortage of open-air submissions in this year's competition. The fact that few took home awards says volumes about what's transpired with the concept, however.

What used to be fresh and new has quickly become subject to the same traps that once befell the regional mall sector. Open-air projects have become too homogenized and architects are following the same design cues no matter where the projects are located. Developers and architects have looked to the projects that set the mold for open-air centers and become too reliant on trying to copy them.

All of this is food for thought for the industry. It shows both that there is life left in regional malls and that open-air centers need to be done with a bit more care.

Overall, this year's awards feature seven selections made by our esteemed panel of judges. In addition, Retail Traffic opted to award special Editor's Choice designations to two projects. They fell short in the judging, but we felt they deserved added recognition besides being featured in our annual gallery of nice details from projects that did not make the grade.

In addition, two projects this year were awarded special Green designations for their use of sustainable design techniques and building materials. One was our Grand winner and the other was RTKL's Chadstone Shopping Centre renovation in Melbourne, Australia.

Congratulations to all of this year's SADI winners.

For information about the 2011 SADI Award, please contact Associate Publisher Amie Leibovitz at [email protected] or 312.840.8438.

The Shops at Fontainebleau

This collection of three small shops at the famed Fontainebleau hotel and resort in Miami elegantly captures the aesthetic and atmosphere of the iconic property. The project includes the 517-square-foot Aquamarine — a witty take on the traditional swim shop (above). The design uses Esther Williams' Hollywood water ballets as a starting point. The second shop is a 1,349-square-foot women's and men's clothing store named Ida & Harry. The last pice is a 495-square-foot sundries shop called Morris & Co. As one judge put it, the design, “took what was successful in the design of the hotel and transferred it to the stores.” Another commented, “each store is part of a larger story and connects to the legend of Fontainebleau.”

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Stark & Whyte

In designing Stark & Whyte, Ruscio Studio helped bring to life a vision of a new kitchen and cookware brand from scratch. It’s approach was to fuse elements of a big-box store with elements of a speciality boutique.

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Dolce Vita Tejo

This year's Grand SADI Winner, RTKL's Dolce Vita Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, exhibits an innovative approach to the enclosed mall concept. In addition, the project conveys a true commitment to green principles. What ties the entire project together is one of the largest ethylene tetraflouroethylene roof structures in the world. The material allows sunlight to pass through while keeping heat out, enabling the center to make maximum use of natural lighting while keeping cooling costs low.

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Countryside Marketplace

Countryside Marketplace's design is inspired by the Agrarian architectural style as an homage to the site's long agricultural history. The result is a playful project where conventional tenants can be found in scaled structures that look like barns in keeping with the project's development and design guidelines. The overall effect is family friendly.

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Cherry Hill Mall

The renovation and repositioning of Cherry Hill Mall shows that sometimes a simple solution can achieve big results. JPRA Architects' design for the PREIT property took what was best from the original Victor Gruen scheme and added modern flourishes while flooding the center with natural light. The renovation improved the circulation of the mall while seamlessly incorporating 200,000 square feet of new retail space. The execution of the renovation was “nicely done” according to one judge because it “allows you to see the original structure.” Another lauded it for being a “minimal renovation with a lot of bang.” Since the renovation, retailers have seen sales increases averaging 13.8 percent per month.

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Chadstone Shopping Centre

Chadstone Shopping Centre is Australia's oldest and largest shopping center. It is also a retail icon with its interior space highlighted by three interconnected glass vaulted roofs. In the latest renovation, RTKL was charged with adding 463,000 square feet of space to the center while modernizing the property and doing so without compromising the original design. The endeavor succeeded aesthetically while bringing in a two-level fashion district, a new entertainment zone, refined landscaping and a new space defined be a distinctive spiral of glass that culminates in seashell-shaped skylights. The center also achieved a 5-Star Green Star Certified Rating under the Green Building Council Shopping Centre Design rating system.

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Carrefour Laval Food Court

Mall food courts are not typically the paragons of good retail design. But that's all changing. A renewed emphasis is turning food courts into highlights rather than afterthoughts. That's exactly what's at play in design by GHA design studio and Le Groupe Archifin at the Carrefour Laval Food Court. The team had a tall order. The center itself received numerous design awards after opening in 2002. The design studio strived to create an experience that lives up to the mall itself and rivals the most renowned food courts internationally. The design met those high standards by being “tight all the way around,” according to one judge. Another said, “Most food courts are places people never go. This is a food court that you want to go into.”

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Annapolis Towne Center

Annapolis Towne Center is the first project recognized for an Editor's Choice mention in this year's award. Judges felt the project did not break enough new ground to warrant an award. Moreover, they were not impressed with the choice of materials — red brick inspired by the building style of the Mid-Atlantic. We decided, however, that the project was worth noting as an ambitious attempt to do a multi-use development right. It strives to integrate a serious amount of office, retail and apartment space and does so in a way that the uses are integrated and complementary. A number of different architects were involved in the project, but it still meshes as a cohesive whole. For that, we felt it deserved some kudos.

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Saks Fifth Avenue

No project was more debated by judges than this — the renovation of the third floor of the Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. In the end, judges thought the renovation offered a big improvement of the plan and circulation of the floor. What used to be a racetrack layout is now set up like streets with distinctive departments. Yet it couldn't garner quite enough support among the jury to win an award. We decided to recognize it because it is an elegant and understated improvement to what came before.

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Fifth & Alton

Fifth and Alton, a 180,000 square foot vertical retail shopping center, which includes a 1,081-space municipally operated parking garage, was developed in an urban infill location on a 2.7 acre site, covering an entire city block at the entrance to Miami Beach, Fla.

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TAGS: Development
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