Modern retailers go to extremes to make their mark and compete within an increasingly competitive market. This often goes beyond out the box design ideals such as virtual retail or smartphone-based shopping processes.
German architecture firm AldingerArchitekten is taking a new and innovative route with a redevelopment of the retail sector in the the City of Bietigheim Bissingen in Stuttgart, Germany.
The project was entered into the WAN Awards 2012 Adaptive Re-Use category, with the architects aiming to breathe new life into the medieval city centre and bring together the culturally significant ‘Heimat’ Style building with the modern elements that are a necessity when developing a new retail space.
Naturally, redeveloping a historical space comes with challenges, such as the building’s overall layout and shape. In order to maximise the potential of the space, the designers converted the courtyard into a more functional atrium, which allows for greater access to retail areas and offers shoppers better accessibility throughout the space and to connected areas.
Another key challenge for designers was to keep the architectural integrity of the original space, maintaining the same overall tone and style as the entire historical hub. In doing this, a semi-transparent façade was added to the original structure, with classic materials such as copper connecting classical and modernist structural elements.
The development plays dual roles, offering a new retail experience while reinvigorating the area’s retail activities.
Developments of this nature are becoming increasingly popular as dated architecture, particularly across Europe, becomes dilapidated due to heritage skills shortages. The key – which these German designers have obviously understood – is to find a balance between old and new design styles and redesigning retail spaces in a manner that creates a new design identity and experience for visitors without completely obliterating the surrounding area’s character and heritage.