I can’t help but see the relation to giving a building a new, unexpected chapter in its life. As Contributor Melissa Martyr points out in “Transformation”, designers must be thoughtful about their decisions to ensure a building retrofit can be successful. Often, that means taking cues from the existing building itself. In the case of a new Anthropologie store in Toronto, the vintage-inspired brand found the perfect home in an abandoned church. “With the old church, for example, exposed brick walls and historic fireplaces provide domestic backdrops for the Anthropologie HomeGoods merchandise selections that tend to include handcrafted, vintage or antique items,” Martyr describes.
Sometimes change can create many challenges. Our cover story, expertly written by KJ Fields, a regular retrofit contributor, describes structural issues the design and construction team encountered while transforming a triangular building with 26.5 million cubic feet of enclosed volume into a Bass Pro Shops flagship store. The downtown Memphis location, along the Mississippi River, created seismic risks but the team found creative solutions, not only for the structure, but also for the interior, which lured more than 1 million visitors in the first 70 days it was open.
Changing a building—just like changing your life—isn’t always going to be easy but, I think, with careful choices, success can be achieved. Like the designers in these stories, I think the choices I’ve made during my life have helped ease the transitions created by my new, unexpected chapter. During my 14 years in Chicago, I maintained relationships with my high-school friends who remained in my hometown area, which not only led me to my husband, but also ensured I’d have friends when I moved back. Twelve years ago, I accepted a job offer from people who were willing to invest in me for the long term—John and Becky Riester and Barrett Hahn. If I hadn’t been lucky enough to meet them, I may not have been able to take my career with me to Iowa. And, of course, I made a great choice in husbands; he has made my life better in every way!