Lakeview Pantry has transformed a dilapidated pet daycare into their first permanent home and reinvented a program typology that often carries a stigma into one that has a positive impact on the community it serves and its neighbors. Prominently located adjacent to the Sheridan ‘L’ Station, the renovated building with its new, large, storefront windows and colorful, bright interiors immediately sends a welcoming message to both neighbors and clients.
The goal of the architecture is to create a space that provides dignity to those in time of need, furthers the Pantry’s mission and raises awareness about hunger and poverty in our city. The project uses humble materials in imaginative ways to create a simple, welcoming and safe environment for all.
The design is informed by hours of observation and strives to increase efficiency and bring joy to its clients. Large, colorful graphics and signage help communicate functionality and locations of foods in both verbal and non-verbal ways, making it easier for those with low-literacy to understand how to navigate the space, while adding some levity to what is a serious and sometimes overwhelming experience. A dedicated desk at the entrance allows a volunteer to greet each guest as they enter and the bright white distribution counter running through the space facilitates an organized flow of interaction and food distribution as volunteers help clients select fresh produce, meats, dairy, and staples; at check-out, the flower display leaves clients smiling as they choose a fresh bouquet to bring home.