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The Coop

Pop Up Store Pop Up Store John Wheatley/UA Creative

Matt Gibson Architecture + Design

Victoria Entries 2011

Part experimental Installation part retail tenancy ‘incubator’ (in a collaborative effort with GPT Melbourne Central) the concept of a ‘Pop-up’ store hopes to spurn new businesses & generate excitement & buzz around new product. The idea of the ‘Incubation Store’ strategy was invented by Melbourne Central to engage consumers by creating a sense of urgency and provide a unique & attractive vehicle from which Melbourne’s young shining stars & future style shapers can test the market without forking out capital for long term leases & costly fit-outs. The businesses will be sourced & hand picked by GPT, with rent kept to a minimum to ensure the business is a success within the prescribed 1 year lease term. Located in a disused access corridor the brief required a low cost, quirky, functional & robust space, ESD focussed with a flexibility to transform itself & cater for different types of retail tenant.

The concept of the chicken coop whimsically references childhood memories of incubators, seeds in cotton wool under lights and chickens in chicken coops. Aesthetically similar to the humble chook shed on a bed of grass, ‘The Coop’ appears as a conceptually clean container expressing a rudimentary constructivist aesthetic which turns its head away from the slick and flashy of mainstream retail. The enclosed asymmetrical chamber provides an interior and architecture concerned with ‘journey’ defined by light, rhythm, perspective and material. The experimental container provides something different that is not immediately recognisable in a retail environment meaning it in turn gets recognised.

Material detail
Budget dictated that the regular glass viewing box was out of the question. Alternatively The Coop presents its brand and hero in a far more interesting combination of the cheapest possible recycled timber products & disused building materials. Simple LVL beams and OSB panelling (used for hoarding) make up The Coop’s structure and cladding. These components are configured in a repetitive & modular rhythm leading internally to a mirror clad end wall. Light fittings are located at consecutive bay intervals rendering a dark/ light rhythm to the 20+ LVL ‘ribs’. Along with the rising steps carried over from the previous weekend market stalls the vortex like movement and play on perspective renders the container immediately spatially interesting. The seemingly infinite length of ‘The Coop’ encourages the visitor to enter and embark on a journey of their own.

The randomly placed OSB side flaps functionally enable The Coop complete flexibility to aesthetically and functionally change formation depending on the tenants whim. Tenants may retail off the internal walls, the exterior, the ceiling or even on stepped floor. Two alternative side entry doors, a cental fixed structural brace panel and optional bi-fold wall tenancy dividers enable alternate change room positions and multiple (up to 3) tenants if/when required. In this way The Coop acts as a chameleon depending on the mood, stock level or brand statement of the tenant/s.

In Summary
The Coop is experimental & ‘provisional’ - the ‘tech’ is low not high. The material and construction (normally covered over) is not flashy. Instead the Coop offers contradiction, surprise and tangible feel good honesty.

Timber Usage:

LVL beam and columns:

  • Supplier: CHH

  • Species: Hyspan LVL

  • Profile : 200x45

  • Finish: Natural oil finish

OSB Panelling:

  • Supplier: Melbourne Central protection hoarding re-used from other fitouts (originally Gunnersons)

  • Species: OSB 9.5mm & 18.5mm thickness (panels 1200x2440mm).

  • Profile : 5mm panel 900 x 2400mm, painted black to rear side.

  • Finish: pre-finished, painted black enamel to inside face.

Why exceptional - the use of timber has been used in a resourceful way in this project to obtain maximum impact for minimal price.
In this way this project can be categorised as small - small in size, small in budget but big in concept, idea and visual impact.
We love the patterning and texture of the OSB not only because it visually exudes ‘sustainability’, in this case it is a recycled board ‘re-recycled’. It was able to be utilised as a facade material, structurally as a brace panel to stop the ribs from collapsing and as a joinery material internally.

Cost effectiveness - the cheapest possible materials were utilised, inexpensive detailing, modular & repetitive construction, standard sizes, self-similar hardware elements, retention of the existing steps, no demolition, no substrate boards, no cladding of structure meant less material & labour required. The front glass bi-fold security doors were the single most expensive item. Shop fit $50k.

Application of sustainable design principles:
ESD principals included :
Retain/ re-use/ recycle the existing space without demolition - retention of all existing interior elements including the awkwardly located steps. Instead these were used to inform the perspective aspect of the proposal.

Timber building materials, predominantly OSB and LVL columns exemplify ESD principles in being totally renewable, home grown & produced. These items were partly recycled from other GPT projects and any waste from the structure was utilised for steps, ramps and internal joinery elements.
LVL and OSB have very low embodied energy counts and are either formaldehyde free or of a low emission class.
Minimum material is utilised - there are no substrates, unnecessary finishes or expensive embellishments (other than low VOC paints).
Entered into:
  • Interior Fitout, 2011

2011 Entries

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