Height And Light

A Review of Coventry Village Markets

Coventry's is a large site which was once an industrial something-or-other.

Called Coventry's.

They have lots of branches around.

I'm not really sure what they do.

Anyway, they decided they didn't need this site anymore so they sold it.

The new owner said they wanted to create an indoor market. Ok, then.

To set the standard and to prevent headaches with quality-control the landlord said he would provide high-quality shop counters, side by side. The inspiration was Victoria Markets in Melbourne, Australia, like this:

Above and below: Queen Victoria Markets, corner of Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, Melbourne City Centre, Australia.

The landlord told me he wanted 30 butchers, 15 cheese guys and about as many fruity ones. Sounds delicious.

And not impossible.

So, let's go check it out. It's been five years and I've never seen it.

The centre faces the main road - Walter Road West - and there are some nice curly bits. Gutsy. They can't have been cheap.

But, really, the main entry is at the rear. You have to drive down a new road to get to the rear of the property and the market's entrance.

Wow, it's in a sea of enormous.

The lane is kissed by a big, warehouse wall and at the back is a huge carpark.

Not much 'markets' yet.

More curly bits. I like it.

The grand entry is not so grand. That's bad. Let's show off a little and seduce our audience.

I didn't see any door counters on the inside. Naughty.

The grocer. I checked it out but the prices are more expensive than Galati's.

The shops are panel boards set up in rows. And the street names are a great touch.

I thought it was a suggestion board at first, but a retailer has cut out their Facebook reviews, laminated them, and posted them outside their shop. Good.

The height is jolly impressive. Without height, spaces suck. Whether this building has a preservation order on it or not I don't know (I doubt it), but you can see how the saw-tooth pattern of the roof allows for large glass panels to let in light.

I only saw one plant indoors and rushed up to greet it. Plastic. Mmm ...

The doorways and shopfronts have mouldings to add to the building's impression. They are made of a composite plastic, it seems. No shame in that.

Because I was in the area I popped across the road to Morley Galleria, the regional shopping centre. Used to be my favourite.

But: not good.

Wow, that's bad.

* * *

Moving on.

Look at the height of the people, the height of the shopfronts and the height of the ceiling.

It's two storey building.

This is how tall a two-storey building should be. Really tall.

And what have we here? Noice.

They should do weddings.

And here's a tip. A vacant shop should still have a story. So, good one (below)

Every time I take photos in a shopping centre I begin to get stalked by security guards so I gave up and left.

And that's just one difference between your mainstreet and a shopping centre.

*           *           *

Coventry Village, 253 Walter Road West, Morley, Australia.

How to attract and retain people to our business districts

In order to retain people's interest in our business districts, placemaking by retailers must be cognisant of our need to feel safe, comfortable and interested.

Creating and showcasing depth in your shop expands the visual landscape for the visiting public.

Whether we are buying or not today, you are showing off your whole district by visually stimulating the passer-by.

You are giving light to a darkened street and adding volume to the visual buffet so people are attracted and retained.

Above: Shopfront, visual merchandising and lighting choices by Bed Bath N' Table, 165 Rokeby Road, Subiaco, Australia.

Below: The same by Dallimore's, 173 Rokeby Road.

The church of Smiggle

Look at the hugeness of that Smiggle - you can tell by checking the people.

I will sneak in there with my tool one day to really measure it but it looks about 3.7 metres just to the internal ceiling.

This shop will be able to house a lot more different uses in the future than if it it were just as high as a basement - meaning the centre will have a longer life.  That means your city will be more sustainable and wont have to go through the bother of neglect, abandonment and demolition so often.

Churches and shops, they should all be tall if they are going to last.

Seed Of A Tall Poppy Planted In Claremont

This gives an idea of how tall the shop is.  Look at the people.  I've got a special tool that measures things such this and can tell you that this shop is 4.59m high to the top of the clapboard (15' 1").

Yes, this is better than a scungy little shop.  It lets in more light and just looks better.

Its a hard decision to make, but this shopping centre owner, this community, this local government made the right one.  The centre will have a longer life because the centre will be attractive to more people for longer.  This means its more sustainable and also becomes a more permanent part of the community.

Why do people prefer tall shops?  The same reason why a cathedral is tall and your attic is not, perhaps.

A courageous decision was made by the shopping centre owner and the Town of Claremont.  Congratu-bloody-lations.

Seed, Claremont Quarter Shopping Centre, Bay View Terrace, Claremont, Australia

Rude Architecture Shown Some Manners

A point of shopfront design rudely ignored in modern architecture are transom lights.

These are the small stained glass squares as shown in this photo.

Many new shopfronts are not tall enough to have them.

The height to the top of the door of this shop is 2.64m (8'8").  The height of the entire shopfront is 3.59m (12'1")

Photo: Leona Edmiston Vintage Outlet Store, 123 Greville Street, Prahran, Australia

Height and light

Hi.  I'm starting a new series to demonstrate HEIGHT and LIGHT.

It's simple ... it rhymes ...

I want to explore how these two elements improve community and economy.

My hunches are:

  • Tallness is critical!  That is, tallness of each floor or level, meaning: high ceilings.  High ceilings are parlance in residential real estate to denote value.  Statements like '12 foot ceilings', '14 foot ceilings' in real estate advertisements are used to show off a rare attribute in residential buildings.
  • LIGHT is a result of the first.  But smart architects have always exploited available light to excite people AND THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT if we want people to come to our cites.

The below building also demonstrates how light is reflected around a city.

Fremantle Town Hall, Kings Square, Fremantle, Australia

Why is no one sitting at this cafe?

This post brings to your attention the value of environmental design in retail.  It clearly shows the cafe on the left is busier than the one on the right - which has no one sitting at its tables.

At the time of the photo - 8.10am - the weather was crisp and cool ... 

Because the cafe on the left faces north (we are in the southern hemisphere) it enjoys more hours of comfortable seating than the one on the right, which faces south and is yet to receive any warming rays.

This is critical at those times of the year where direct sunlight is necessary to add a few degrees of warmth to your table.  Cafes with this enjoy hours of advantage over their neighbours.