Professional Experience - NORR Architects // Spring 2012 - Fall 2013 // Revit + Adobe CS6
As a designer at NORR, I worked as part of a small team focused on creating unique, engaging and environmentally-responsible store designs for Starbucks Coffee.
Each project was guided through the major design phases:
-Site surveys, existing condition documentation and creation of a highly-detailed EC model
-Local code / permitting research
-Creating schematic and conceptual design packages, complete with FF&E options and visualizations
-Completion of construction document sets, including custom component design details
-Submitting necessary permit applications and LEED documentation
This position allowed for a very high level of personal responsibility and design freedom, and required a strong sense of self-management, as each designer is generally handling 8-12 projects at a time under simultaneous timeframes. The necessary daily interaction and design collaboration with the clients, engineering consultants, construction teams and various vendors provided invaluable experience and insight into the construction process.
A portion of my projects included High Profile locations, which were typically located in major urban centers and experienced very high traffic. These projects allowed for much more conceptual and programmatic freedom than the standard stores, and therefore put a higher priority on space planning, material and lighting quality, and the overall customer experience. These stores would often also have unique concepts and themes that would define the store's design language, in order to better reflect the individual qualities of the surrounding community.
For a high profile store in Alexandria, VA, while conducting demographics studies, we found that the city contains a high proportion of educated residents and has been named the Best-Read City in America. The neighborhood also contains a large amount of freelance workers. We focused the renovation concept in response to these facts, providing a built-in reading nook with shelving and integrated chalkboards, allowing customers to make recommendations to future visitors.
We also designed custom tables with integrated, adjustable lighting that would provide excellent spaces for freelance workers to meet and gather throughout the day. Based on feedback from the store employees, the new seating features have been very successful and popular among the customers, adding new options in addition to the company’s standard standard configurations. This store provided an excellent opportunity to design specifically for the community that will be using it every day, and is a great showcase for the benefits of Starbucks’ new design philosophy at work.
Many of the projects involved the design of high-concept solutions for displays and merchandising, many of which included integrated, specialized lighting solutions, in-depth material studies and iterative design visualizations.