LL Bean store is inspired by the natural environment

February 05, 2008 |

L.L. Bean's design for a new Hunting and Fishing Store in Freeport, Maine, was inspired by the company's commitment to the natural environment. L.L. Bean wanted a new, two-story retail building to showcase their Hunting & Fishing merchandise, and wanted the new store to feature a “rustic lodge” aesthetic. Located adjacent to their flagship store in Freeport, Maine, the new building is modeled after a traditional Maine hunting lodge, complete with a stone fireplace and oversized porch. The mezzanine of this two-story building offers customers a space to interact with instructors from L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School, who offer classes ranging from clay-shooting and fly fishing to photography tours.

The LL Bean store in Freeport, Maine.


The design team showed the first cartoon sketches to L.L. Bean on January 31, 2007, with the client responding, “Can it be built by hunting season?!” So, it was apparent to the entire project team that the project schedule would be extremely challenging, and would demand clockwork collaboration between the building owner, design team, and construction manager.

February 1, 2007 In the thick of ice fishing season, L.L. Bean and the design team welcome the construction manager to the team. The construction manager begins pricing exercises immediately, while the design team commences the local regulatory procedures, as well as the construction documents.

April 1, 2007 The ice has cleared from the lakes. The construction manager and L.L. Bean agree to a budget, and the design team has a permitted project.

April 20, 2007 The lake fish move to the surface in search of insects and the construction team mobilizes to clear the site adjacent to L.L. Bean’s famed retail store to make room for the new store, which will open November 1, 2007. The team has seven months for construction, one month longer than fishing season.

May 28, 2007 Striped Bass migration arrives in Casco Bay. Steel arrives on-site and the design team continues to issue design documents.

July 9, 2007 Concrete floors are poured, the building skeleton is complete.

August 3, 2007 Exterior walls are complete, building skin is complete.

Sept 1, 2007 Summer is over and the project team spends no time fishing, but thousands of hours learning about fishing merchandise. Interior architecture elements continue to be installed.

Sept 24, 2007 Moose season begins and interior finishes begin to be installed. Six weeks remain on the schedule.

Oct 18, 2007 Substantial completion certificate is issued and L.L. Bean begins installing floor fixtures and taxidermy. Grouse and pheasant season continues.

Oct 29, 2007 Deer season begins and cash registers are installed.

Nov 1, 2007 The grand opening of store, nine months after proposal of the project by L.L. Bean. Hunting season is in full swing!

During the short time devoted to this project, the project team met many hunters and fisherman. The team learned that though the final product of a successful hunt may be a trophy catch, that is just the beginning.

The intangible rewards are companionship and time spent outside with the elements. Speaking for the entire Hunting & Fishing Store project team, the product of this partnership of owner, designers, and contractors was not only a great building, but the intangibles gained while working alongside friends toward a common goal.

Sustainability and Sensitivity

• Sustainability and sensitivity to the environment were key factors in the design process, such as

utilizing salvaged materials, minimizing waste, and energy efficiency. Wood structural beams, wood

posts, and thousands of square feet of beadboard and floorboard from the old L.L. Bean outlet store

were salvaged to create the oversized porch in front of the store, the wood ceilings in the retail store,

and floor fixtures.

• In order to eliminate the need for site irrigation, only native plants and vegetation were used.

• Oversized windows for daylighting, traditionally very difficult to do in a retail environment, save

greatly on energy costs.

• Operable windows allow for natural venting of the buildings.

• Structural components not only came from the demolished buildings, but also from recycled

material from other sources. 90% of the structural steel was recycled material, the concrete used

recycled fly ash, and the interior walkways were made from recycled rubber.

• Sustainable features include 100% storm water treatment, waterless urinals, and low-flow sinks and

toilets which greatly save on energy costs.

• Energy systems are designed to far out-perform code standards.

• 97% of construction waste was sent to be recycled.

• The retail store is anticipating LEED Silver Certification.

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