The supermarket is the first phase of a mixed use development. The context is highway commercial: blacktop, scattered buildings, exclusively catering to vehicle traffic, but in the centre of major residential growth. It was an opportunity to show a way back toward urban aesthetics: instead of buildings placed in a sea of parking, they were used to define streets and squares. The starting point is the Street Wall. Next are a row of trees, a walking and cycling path, and parallel parking. Parallel parking is a powerful urban feature: it signals a downtown street, the lure to get a spot attracts users, the activity of parking and leaving vehicles slows down traffic; it signals a destination, not a race track.
The new supermarket establishes the Street Wall. The severe slope of the site, traditionally a handicap for a building type requiring large flat areas, was turned to its advantage: traffic is led down and inside the development, the glazed "back wall” becomes the Street Wall, exposing the warm light reflected from its massive wood roof and offering an attractive ambience to the community. The store’s ancillary functions are under a landscaped boulevard and could be built to the property line.
This new store wants to breathe new life into a development model that has been somewhat neglected by all but the most bottom line driven design culture. The effort was rewarded with an AIBC Special Jury Awards 2013.