David Baker Architects

DESIGNING FOR HUMANS

HOW-TO: Pedestrian Retail


See all How-to's

RETAIL: Bakeworks at Richardson Apartments is a modern pedestrian corner retail design. Image: Matthew Millman

RETAIL: Retractable awnings provide sheltered seating for this cafe as well as a signage band at the edge of the awning. Hotel Healdsburg by DBA.

Designing retail that is oriented to the pedestrian instead of cars requires some special considerations.

FLEX: Front Café occupies a repurposed loading dock in a building that houses a diversity of uses – a coffee roastery, a robotics-engineering studio, and a production company. The roll up door sends a message, opens to the street, and shades the sun.

RETAIL: These butt-jointed windows provide a great view of the cafe behind them.

This corner storefront at our 200 Second Street building in the Jack London Square district hosts Oakland Juice & Co.

How To: Pedestrian Retail

1. Large clear windows face the street, making the inside of the store the display.

2. The sill on the storefront should be as low as possible, and no higher than 18".

3. The door should be recessed and swing out.

4. Shade and define this window with a horizontal shading element: awning or trellis, located between 8 and 10 feet above the sidewalk. These make a great place for pedestrian oriented signage as 6"-8" high letters along the front edge and for hanging small blade signs perpendicular to the sidewalk.

5. Design a signage band for larger signs, above or integrated into the storefront.

6. Design an architectonic bay that frames the individual store, organizing it and allowing the store to be relatively chaotic. A typical bay would be 15' to 40' wide.

7. A store depth of 40' is functional. A service corridor allowing for shared bathrooms and receiving and trash/recycling is a great feature.

8. Ceiling heights are better higher, with a minimum of 12', 15' is better, and 20' is great

9. For smaller, local tenants build a "warm shell" with electrical, lighting, and mechanical installed as part of the basic building. This will aid lease up.

10. Rules are meant to be (thoughtfully) broken!

RETAIL: Renovated storefront on Hayes Street.

RETAIL: Detail of entry of renovated storefront on Hayes Street. Unfortunately the clearances do not meet the ADA.

HAYES VALLEY

A great array of narrow pedestrian oriented shops.

COFFEE: Dynamo Coffee in Noe Valley illustrates a great vernacular approach to intense pedestrian retail.

RETAIL A very shallow coffee shop in San Francisco's North beach neighborhood. An exception to all the rules.

COFFEE

Spaces can be very small as these very successful sidewalk cafe's illustrate.

FLEX: The "Kafe 99 sq ft" is an example of using tiny retail spaces to enliven the street level while allowing small scale entrepreneurs a low barrier to an independent business.

RETAIL: Fortino's Grocery is on it's third family generation, and has the best roasted peanuts ever in the window.

RETAIL: Fresh roasted peanuts. They had them in the 50s when I was a kid, and they still have them, and they taste and smell great!

GROCERY STORES

Can be successful with a small footprint in walkable neighborhoods.

RETAIL: The Bi-Rite grocery in the Mission packs all the good things you need into a tiny storefront.

FLEX: SHED hair salon. The glass garage door opens up to the street.

FLEX: The interior of the SHED hair salon at Emeryville Warehouse lofts, a DBA project.

FLEX

Can be a living, working, or retail space. Here it's a hair salon: SHED. The garage door opens the elevation to the sidewalk on nice days.

FLEX: This ground level space fabricates the work designed on the second floor. The owner lives on the third level with her daughter.

Food truck under freeway park off Second Street in San Francisco. 2014.07

FOOD TRUCKS

have become major players in San Francisco.

The Taco Truck at the corner of 16th and Shotwell in the Mission District of San Francisco.

This storefront is modern but uses traditional elements such as a signage band and clerestory daylighting window. Hotel Healdsburg by DBA.

RETAIL: Retractable awnings provide sheltered seating for this cafe as well as a signage band at the edge of the awning. Hotel Healdsburg by DBA.

RETAIL: These butt-jointed windows provide a great view of the cafe behind them.

RETAIL: Bakeworks at Richardson Apartments is a modern pedestrian corner retail design. Image: Matthew Millman

RETAIL: The interior of Bakeworks was designed by Architects II. Image: Matthew Millman

RETAIL: Dragon Eats is a scrappy and successful Vietnamese sandwich shop at Richardson Apartments. Image: Matthew Millman

RETAIL: Dragon eats is an example of how functional a small retail space can be. Image: Matthew Millman

RETAIL: New retail at our Richardson Apartments. I like the blade sign system and the recessed door.

RETAIL: An organic market on Howard Street in DBA's SOMA Residences affordable housing.

RETAIL: vinyl bus wrap graphics on the martial arts store at 8th and Howard/SOMA Studios by DBA.

This corner storefront at our 200 Second Street building in the Jack London Square district hosts Oakland Juice & Co.

Nice metal and wood awning corner which we did as part of the overall building "frame" at 200 Second Street. The handwritten sign on the window is quite successful. 2014

Retail doesn't have to have an ideal typology to be successful and to add life to the street realm.

These four FLEX loft units at our 200 Second project have had various uses from residential to an art gallery to a food prep space.

A FLEX loft space at 200 Second being used as a residence.

FLEX: SHED hair salon. The glass garage door opens up to the street.

FLEX: The hair salon SHED at Emeryville Warehouse lofts.

FLEX: The interior of the SHED hair salon at Emeryville Warehouse lofts, a DBA project.

FLEX at Mosaica in San Francisco's Mosaica Development consisting of small spaces fronting the street that house various service and light industrial uses. This is a spa.

FLEX at Mosaica in San Francisco's Mosaica Development consisting of small spaces fronting the street that house various service and light industrial uses. This is a contractors office.

FLEX: Fabrication in a small flex space at Mosaica in San Francisco. 2014

FLEX: The Lowcycle folks design and fabricate track bike frames in a 500 SF space. 2014

The Bike Kitchen is a non-profit bike recycling space located in the base of the Mosaica building in San Francisco.

The Bike Kitchen on the new alley 18 1/2 Street at Mosaica in San Francisco.

FLEX: This ground level space fabricates the work designed on the second floor. The owner lives on the third level with her daughter.

FLEX: This tiny bike shop started in a 120 df space in this micro-commercial complex in san Francisco.

FLEX: The "Kafe 99 sq ft" is an example of using tiny retail spaces to enliven the street level while allowing small scale entrepreneurs a low barrier to an independent business.

FLEX: Front Café occupies a repurposed loading dock in a building that houses a diversity of uses – a coffee roastery, a robotics-engineering studio, and a production company. The roll up door sends a message, opens to the street, and shades the sun.

COFFEE: Linea Caffe at 18th and Mission in San Francisco. Coffee and Waffles!

COFFEE: Dynamo Coffee in Noe Valley illustrates a great vernacular approach to intense pedestrian retail.

RETAIL A very shallow coffee shop in San Francisco's North beach neighborhood. An exception to all the rules.

RETAIL A very shallow coffee shop in San Francisco's North beach neighborhood. An exception to all the rules.

RETAIL: This cast iron storefront in downtown San Francisco was designed by the Reid Brothers in the early 20th Century.

RETAIL: Simple but well thought out new pedestrian retail.

RETAIL: This simple modern pedestrian retail has an effective way to organize signage.

Creative conversion of 2' deep display windows of a Walgreens into a flower shop.

Tiny works in an urban setting. 2014

RETAIL: The Bi-Rite grocery in the Mission packs all the good things you need into a tiny storefront.

RETAIL: This well done new retail on Valencia Street in San Francisco has high ceilings, and a strong modular bay framing glass storefront that slopes in to the entry door. It works in spite of the shallow depth.

RETAIL: This well done new retail on Valencia Street in San Francisco has high ceilings, and a strong modular bay framing glass storefront that slopes in to the entry door. Small size increment attracts funky local businesses.

La Boulange at Hayes and Octavia.

RETAIL: Paolo 16 foot wide storefront on Hayes Street in San Francisco.

RETAIL: Renovated storefront on Hayes Street.

RETAIL: Detail of entry of renovated storefront on Hayes Street. Unfortunately the clearances do not meet the ADA.

RETAIL: A 10 foot wide restaurant on Hayes in 2012.

RETAIL: A narrow gallery space at Hayes and Octavia in 2012.

RETAIL: The South Congress in Austin has a vibrant and growing pedestrian shopping district.

House Park BBQ, pedestrian oriented Austin style.

Austin BBQ sign with a compelling message.

This mexican cafe in Austin is an enormously popular institution. Storefronts do't have to be pristine to be effective.

Quirky, messy, crowded: a designer would never do it this way. But it works at Avenue Cafe - Las Manitas.

"In Tacos Veritas"

RETAIL: Rules are made to be broken, as in the case of this newsstand I patronized 50 years ago, little changed today.

RETAIL: Fortino's Grocery in Grand Haven, Michigan, was founded in 1907.

RETAIL: Fortino's Grocery is on it's third family generation, and has the best roasted peanuts ever in the window.

RETAIL: Fresh roasted peanuts. They had them in the 50s when I was a kid, and they still have them, and they taste and smell great!

RETAIL: An elegant high-ceiling retail space in Grand Haven, Michigan.

The Taco Truck at the corner of 16th and Shotwell in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Food truck under freeway park off Second Street in San Francisco. 2014.07

Food truck under freeway park off Second Street in San Francisco. 2014.07

Ad hoc sidewalk store on Market Street in San Francisco. 2014.07