Rethinking the Outdoor Urban Point of Destination

As we jump into spring and warmer weather spreads across the U.S., BRR has taken the POD idea from our last blog post (Part One: Rethinking Outdoor Urban Retail) and executed it in schematic form. The social interactions that come with this changing season will nudge and encourage the reluctant winter shopper to engage in the outdoor retail experience.

When re-examining a community’s business plan for outdoor retail solutions, there needs to be a wide spectrum of flexibility to the site and for cultural adaptation. Rather than a monotony of the same repetitive structure, the design solution should contribute to a vibrant and visually stimulating landscape as one walks through the outdoor urban retail site.

The overall POD (Point of Destination) design is to provide a dynamic experience as one navigates from one spot to the next. By taking a defined area and further modularizing it into separate sections, this creates a myriad of customizable designs and allows each slice to cater to a different need.

With a finite amount of retail space, every move must be intentional and purposeful. The traditional cashwraps will be obsolete as tenants embrace technological advancements, such as card readers and digital receipts. This will give valuable real estate back for merchandise display and storage where different slices can be utilized to help delineate the interior space. Other sections will be more suitable to allow for circulation or create nodes for service interactions.

Versatility of the PODs also comes from its orientation and its relationship between the slices. The mixing and matching of these individual segments can better accommodate the needs of a particular local business, retail brand, café, restaurant or public services for customers. A standard module may consist of four or five segments, but additional components can be added or subtracted to customize and suit the needs and budget of the tenant. The splicing and sequencing of these individual sections will yield the unique design-DNA of a POD.

The layout of the sections can dictate the interior circulation path while creating a relationship to the exterior. Strategic translucent wall openings can entice the passerby with how and where products are displayed. Counters straddling the perimeter will create a warm invitation drawing patrons inside. The combinations of these components can formulate a particular experience about the POD while simultaneously addressing security concerns with the openness of the layout. At the end of the night as commerce slows and patrons return to their homes, the POD units can close and lock down protecting the merchandise.

By grouping several modules together, a new outdoor retail fabric begins to emerge. The collection of these units can vary by program type and respond to the unique needs of a particular neighborhood. One community may desire more retail PODs versus a food or service POD type than another community. Therefore, consideration of the overall site circulation can be addressed by the selection or orientation of a slice, defining the relationship from one module to the next.

The use of the PODs can enhance the unique atmosphere of an urban environment while creating commerce centers that knit the communities social interactions back together. In part three of the Outdoor Retail Series, BRR will explore the experiences of these PODs and their relationship to the urban context.

About the author

Jessica Kim, RA, LEED AP BD+C, graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. She joined BRR in 2019 and brought 10 years of retail design experience to our team. Jessica has worked with a variety of luxury retail brands in New York City and across the country. She currently leads a team working with one of our confidential retail clients as they introduce a new store concept nationwide. Jessica has experience working on both the client side and the design consultant side of the industry which gives her a depth of knowledge and allows her to think about each project from a holistic approach. She continually challenges our clients to elevate the everyday design experience and how that affects the brand and the consumer. Email her.