”Building large retail spaces at town entrances is very often an obligatory task“, criticizes architect Hermann Kaufmann from Schwarzach. Going against the usual ”very mundane boxes“, he built an unmistakable structure with a rough-sawn wooden façade for Sutterlüty in Hohenems
If you open a store, you want to offer something special. The large chain stores also want to stand out from other chain stores. They look for their own store concepts and open flagship stores with new ideas. Yet you can most attract attention with outstanding architecture, since the building is more than a casing to sell things in. Building with wood is something special – at least in Germany. Alpine countries are a lot more advanced when it comes to this. We take a look at Austria.
Wood is a renewable resource that fits well into the green image. Yet wood also creates a cozy atmosphere. Thanks to modern technology, wood can do a lot more than some people think. The new shopping center “G3” that is currently being built in Gerasdorf, North of Vienna (www.g3-shopping.at), shows the technical possibilities. The builders talk about a ”shopping resort“. Thomas Jakoubek, Managing Director of Bauträger Austria Immobilien:”We strive to convey the associations one connects with the term ’resort’ to the shopping area. The visitor is supposed to feel like a guest and not just a customer.“
G3: Shopping at a Resort
The curved wooden roof sits like an enormous wave on top of the flat building where a lot of sunlight is meant to come in. About 180 stores will be available on 70,000 square meters of sales area when the”G3 Shopping Resort Gerasdorf“ will open its doors in the fall of 2012. ”G3“ stands for Gerasdorf and the three buildings the complex consists of – a shopping center for groceries, a retail park and Hornbach Bau- und Gartenmarkt (Hornbach Home Improvement Store). What is more, G3 is located at the intersection of three major traffic junctions, the S1 Expressway, Highway A5 and state road B7. The planners assume a catchment area of two million people. For visitors from the Czech Republic, it is the first shopping center on their way to Vienna.
The Center already boasts superlatives before its opening: at about 750 meters in length, 140 meters in width and up to 22 meters in height and 60,000 square meters of roof area made of wood; it is the largest shopping center in Austria erected during a construction phase. It is also so far the largest that has undergone an environmental impact assessment. During the planning stages, attention was already paid to Feng Shui rules.
Aside from international brands and a colorful variety of businesses of market leaders in Austria, regional companies are also meant to turn the shopping resort into the “Marketplace of the Region“. Fashion is going to be the focus of the range of products at G3. Its tenants include Merkur, Intersport Österreich, C&A, H&M, Esprit and s.Oliver.
Vöcklabruck:”The colorful shopping experience"
G3 has role models in Austria. In August of 2010, the shopping center Varena was opened in Vöcklabruck, designed by the same developer ATP Architekten und Ingenieure, (architects and engineers) of Innsbruck. On 32,000 square meters and two sales floors, 80 stores as well as food service and service companies are available in the catchment area between Salzburg and Linz. The operating company SES has invested 82 million Euro in the facility. The location uses renewable energy and CO2 emissions are supposed to be up to 40 percent below those of comparable projects.
The central point of the shopping center is not the usual mall, but a 2,000 square meter area. An elegant, elongated staircase with 36 stairs and two large platforms links the shopping floors. The staircase was designed to be a social meeting place in the midst of all the shopping experience. It can be loaded with media during events. The top quality sound installation and stage lighting can then also transform the area into a concert hall.
A glass roof with white print spans over the Varena, which is supported by 600 glue-laminated timber girder bridges with spans of up to 25 meters. Lightweight, transparent cloud ceilings made of aluminum intensify the look-and-feel of a year-round summer sky. The storefront conveys the diversity of the Center with a multitude of colors to the outside. Along the façade of the building on the entry side, ten 13-meter high light columns are cased in colored Plexiglas sheets. At night, the bright, colored poles immerse the façade in five varying light colors via LEDs and cannot be overlooked from the main road.
One of the tenants of Varena is the Humanic shoe brand: striking ceiling design and lots of room to display special offers
Even before the opening of the Center, it is already 100 percent rented out. Humanic is represented with its flagship store of 600 square meters. Interspar also presents itself in a more modern and larger way as the origin and magnet of the new shopping center. Other large tenants: Media-Markt (3,500 square meters) New Yorker (almost 1,500 square meters on two floors) and Austrian clothing retailer Kastner & Öhler with its two-story shop on 2,500 square meters.
Sutterlüty: Building for the Region
Sutterlüty originates in Vorarlberg. The company from Egg near Bregenz, founded in 1952, is in food retailing and food service. The stores mostly offer products from Vorarlberg. Where you build something new, you go by the motto ”From the region. For the region“. This also applies to architecture, which is implemented by local architects and artisans using local timber. The prototype for this was a market that was built in 2002 in Weiler. Sutterlüty wants to brave the large, anonymous chain stores.
Sutterlüty offers many products made in the local region and builds with local artisans and the local raw material wood.
With the new shopping center in Hohenems Sutterlüty continues its transformation from a traditional company into a project developer and real estate company. The Center does not just include the “grocery store with the world’s largest range of local products“. Intersport eybl, Austria’s largest Intersport retailer, is also located in the southern part of the first floor and the entire second floor. The restaurant “Gusto” with 100 seats, whose patio juts out over the creek, is located between the two. Below the 3,500 square meter sales floor is an underground garage with 115 parking spaces.
In a prominent location at the town’s entrance, Sutterlüty built a wooden building whose irregular geometric shape adapts to the shape of the property. Walls and the roof are made of high temperature insulated and prefabricated wood elements. The visible roof construction made of natural finish wood gives the interior a friendly atmosphere. Protrusions and recesses break up the rough-sawn spruce laminate façade.
According to company statements, the energy use is reduced by almost half thanks to modern heating, ventilation, lighting, and air-conditioning and climate technologies. One hundred ten geothermal probes make the use of fossil fuel redundant. The probes pull up ground heat from a depth of 35 meters. Sutterlüty won the ”Holzbaupreis 2011“ (Timber construction Award) by the county Vorarlberg for this building.
Germany: tegut in Wiesbaden
In Germany, the awareness for special architecture that is also meant to be ecological, is also slowly increasing. We already introduced the Green Building by Rewe in Berlin. It also features wood architecture that lets a lot of light into the supermarket. The supermarket by tegut in the Wiesbaden suburb of Schierstein is a few years older.
Shopping with a lot of natural light at the tegut market in Schierstein, a suburb of Wiesbaden.
The wooden structure that was built in 2004 is reminiscent of a market hall. Tegut with its large range of organic products and self-imposed commitment to sustainability, among other things offers a fresh fish counter, many fresh salads, delicatessen and a large produce section on 1,600 square meters. Besides tegut, Rewe discounter Penny is a tenant with 800 square meters sales area.
architecture gives the store. However, she is not able to put a number on how it affects the purchase behavior of customers. She says however, that the store has many loyal customers. Maintenance costs are within the usual scope. So far, just a new coat of paint was necessary for the wood on the outside of the building. They also had to protect the protrusions of the façade from pigeons.
The new tegut markets are not always architectural masterpieces. The people from Fulda took over 20 stores from Tengelmann in 2010 in the Rhine-Main area. Some buildings are on the first floors of existing buildings or are detached, though not all of them are exceptional. According to Rehnert, in October in Mühlheim am Main and next year in Marburg, there will be new highlights however. It will be interesting to see what role wood will play as a material.
René Schellbach, EuroShop.de
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