One Seneca Tower Mixed Use Team Design Charrette
Earlier this summer, two of my friends who were working on project 3x30 – One Seneca Tower went off on their summer break and I entered a design competition. After returning to Buffalo, we met at a local café last week to discuss the next steps for the project and to catch up on their summer adventures. We had a brief discussion and decided that I would focus on designing the interior programs of the condominiums and offices in the tower while they developed the designs for the museum, retail, and café on the lower levels.
Developing designs for luxury fashion shops
At the beginning of our first meeting, my friends presented some of their design ideas for the luxury fashion shops. In their drawing, they included ancillary spaces for the clothing display areas, which were divided into several rooms. These rooms were placed along the exterior of the building along the glazed curtain walls. The main circulation was similar to a typical shopping mall where one would enter the building, walk through a main corridor, and enter stores off of that path.
After the presentation, we decided to take a step back and have a discussion about current fashion boutique designs. We know that every store needs an area to store their additional clothing and that luxury brands typically display very little clothes. We also found that some luxury brands don’t have fitting rooms in their stores. In many luxury fashion stores, it appears that a checkout counter and cashier are no longer necessary in today’s economy.
From this brief discussion, we came up with the idea that the luxury fashion stores should be designed as a minimal open floor area with some stores having two story spaces. One store will showcase their products in a dark room with focused spotlights on each item, which will visually attract shoppers to each product. Another store will display clothing in a large frame with mirror backing so that shoppers are able to see themselves in the outfit.
We decided to focus on designing an experience for shoppers in the luxury shops that showcases items in a memorable way that can’t be experienced in the ecommerce market.
Developing designs for the local architecture museum
After discussing the luxury fashion shop designs, we moved onto developing a simple idea for the local architecture museum that will have an entire two story floor dedicated to its program. We decided to add a floor in the two story space to create a loft or catwalk condition to add more floor area for displaying photographs, paintings, and models. The museum will be located above the café and apple store in the sketch above and we’ll develop its design further next week.
Working with my friends on this project has been a fantastic experience thus far because we’ve been able to discuss many ideas together. Although the building is large, splitting the design effort so that my friends can focus on the lower level designs and working alone on the skyscraper tower allows us to focus on our particular programs. I’ve found that this works in a large building like One Seneca Tower because the tower does not have a programmatic relationship to the lower levels. Next week, we’ll see all of the exciting progression with this project!