In today’s fast paced urban lifestyle, we often need to go to several different places every day. This can create problems when our lifestyle prevents us from doing such (sometimes necessary) activities. Architects, city planners, and developers can help minimize the back and forth by synthesizing different programs into one. Not only can the combination of different programs create new design possibilities and typologies, it may become a sustainable solution in architecture and planning.
In this project, we were asked to create a new supermarket concept that could be adopted by nationwide chains. Since we were free to alter the traditional supermarket program, I combined the supermarket with a bookstore and cafe in order to invite new customers into the bookstore/cafe and supermarket. This supermarket concept drops the linear supermarket aisle, instead they are wrapped around “light columns” that opens to the ceiling to let light in. A grid of these 4-sided aisles replaces the rows of supermarket aisles. This was inspired by the Divisoria in the Philippines, a kind of bazaar/market that’s organized with stores inside cubicles each representing individual stores. In the smaller cubicle stores, the goods are displayed in the periphery, with bigger cubicle spaces allowing customers to shop inside. The light columns reinterprets this idea by using the structural element as the structure for retail display as well. The larger light columns are open on one side to create spaces for reading and a music listening room. Some of these light columns go through the second floor, where sitting areas for the cafe can be located.
I will write more about hybridity in a future post for another project. This was one of the first projects where I had to work with two different programs and synthesize them into one building. This was at a time when I was more “rigid” in my design and wouldn’t venture past the 90 degree angles. However, I still like the concept of light columns as a new form of organization in a supermarket.