Decoding Design

REI's design collaboration with the Smithsonian

REI's design collaboration with the Smithsonian

Posting in Architecture

In Manhattan, REI's newest flagship is a responsible historic preservation and urban retrofit project.

With some expert guidance from the Smithsonian, REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) opened a new 35,000 square foot, three floor flagship store in Manhattan's historic Puck Building. The design team from Callison worked with architectural historians and preservationists at the Smithsonian to incorporate original elements of the Puck Building with REI's rugged style.

As Cindy Yewon Chun reports for The Architect's Newspaper:

While the co-op is known for its community-minded programming and partnerships with local non-profits (a New York partner will be Friends of the High Line), REI’s occupancy of the historic building yields another unforeseen benefit: its public accessibility enables the retail store to double as a small museum. Among the various historic artifacts on display throughout the retail space, the most noteworthy are the two 14-foot flywheels from the building’s original steam engines, increasingly rare relics of New York’s industrial past.

Reclaimed historical items include:
- Exposed brick walls and ceilings, and steel columns
- Two below grade levels, open to the public for the first time, through the central staircase
- Repurposed wood that make up cashier counters, display tables, chair railings, mirrors, wall coverings, and signage
- Two refurbished focal chandeliers
- Two 14-foot flywheels from the building’s original steam power plant
- Thirty stone printing tablets

The project doesn't need a LEED for Retail certification (cost prohibitive because of the existing energy systems that would have to be replaced) to reflect the company's serious commitment to responsible, active living even when indoors.

Callison transforms space in New York's historic Puck Building with a little help from the Smithsonian [TheArchitectsNewspaper]
Images: GBNYC

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Sun Kim

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sun Joo Kim is an architect and creative consultant based in Boston. Her projects include design and master planning of museums, public institutions, hospitals, and university buildings across the U.S. She holds a degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure