Specialty Store, sales area 10,000 to 50,000 sq. ft.,
This project also won a Special Award for environmental friendliness
Mithun Architects + Designers + Planners, Seattle
When relocating its Portland, Ore., store from the suburbs to a renovated industrial district downtown - surrounded by restaurants, art galleries and furniture stores - retailer REI hoped to bring its rugged, natural, eco-friendly sensibility to a decidedly urban audience. And while easy access for pedestrians, bicyclists and public transit riders was important, REI also wanted an interior design that would earn the retailer LEED certification for eco-friendliness.
Designers at Mithun achieved the retailer's trademark look with the use of unfinished surfaces - such as raw steel railings on the stair and unpainted concrete walls - and maximized natural light in the high two-story space through two all-glass walls and skylights. Sustainability, however, was a key design consideration throughout the construction process: The fixtures are constructed of non-formaldehyde composite wood; low-water use fixtures minimize consumption in the restrooms; photo cells shut down electric lighting when ambient light is sufficient; non-VOC-emitting paint and carpet were used where possible; and 96 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills and recycled while the store was built. Of course, no REI store would be complete without such amenities as a boot-test station to simulate hiking conditions, a water-filter test basin and a climbing wall. Best of all, the retailer became one of the first U.S. retailers to gain LEED certification for its store.
Client: Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), Sumner, Wash.
Laura Rose, design director
Susan Neaton, project design
Design: Mithun Architects + Designers + Planners, Seattle
General Contractor: Howard S. Wright Construction Co., Portland, Ore.
Architect: Mithun Architects + Designers + Planners, Seattle
Carpet: Masland Contract, Mobile, Ala.
Fixtures: REI, Sumner, Wash.
Lighting: Villa Lighting Supply Inc., St. Louis
Office System Furniture: Haworth Inc., Holland, Mich.
Photography : Eckert & Eckert, Portland, Ore.