Four faces of curb appeal
The Furniture Row retail center in Charlotte, N.C., incorporates four specialty stores in a distinctive, efficient structure.
“Curb appeal” – the combination of aesthetic elements that attracts potential customers – is a common goal among retail establishments.
For Furniture Row Companies, it’s an aspiration that takes on unique significance, as each of the retailer’s furniture centers includes four distinct specialty stores: Sofa Mart, Oak Express, Bedroom Expressions and Denver Mattress Co.
“These buildings are our national image and they need to be unique,” says Larry Fore, who oversees corporate construction for Furniture Row Companies nationwide. “We want people to recognize the buildings immediately upon seeing them. That’s what it’s all about.”
At Furniture Row’s newest center in Charlotte, N.C., a custom steel building by Star Building Systems enabled the retailer to achieve the flexibility, distinctive branding and interior aesthetic environment that wasn’t feasible through conventional construction.
Constructing the 69,631-sf structure involved several challenging design elements, including a complex roof with clerestory windows and a series of complex hips and valleys.
“We strive for efficiency in our buildings and architecture, and these buildings can’t be constructed any other way efficiently,” Fore says. “They are more difficult to build than a typical metal building structure because of the multifaceted roof.”
The combination of materials on the exterior storefronts helps to shape the aesthetic distinctiveness and unique identity of each specialty store.
“We used stone, brick, some decorative metals and even a log structure on part of the building,” says John Tweedy, project manager at Intergroup Architects in Littleton, Colo. “It doesn’t look like your typical metal building.”
The standing seam metal roof provides strong, clean vertical lines, and a ribbon of windows along both sides of the building brings in considerable natural light.
Steel canopies highlight each store entrance, and full cathedral-ceiling dormers – two with clerestories – provide a commanding custom presence for each retail brand.
The interior space takes advantage of the vast spans accommodated by metal building systems, providing a connected interior environment that enables shoppers to discover and shop for merchandise at multiple “stores” within the structure efficiently.
Most of the interior steel is exposed, and the columns are painted various colors to blend with the surrounding areas. The exposed white insulation facing, white painted rafters and lighting contribute to a bright aesthetic appeal.
“There’s quite a bit of exterior and interior flexibility available with metal wall panels,” Tweedy says. “When you work with a retailer, you’ve got to be creative with how you design and put the pieces together because curb appeal is so important to them.”
Based in Denver, Furniture Row Companies operates 80 multi-store centers and 30 standalone stores in 31 states.
Owner: Furniture Row USA, LLC, Denver
Star Builder: Furniture Row USA, Charlotte, N.C.
Architect: Intergroup Architects, Littleton, Colo.
General Contractor: Catamount Constructors, Inc., Denver
Erector: Five Starr Steel, LLC, New Caney, Texas
For more information on Star Building Systems, visit: http://www.starbuildings.com.