|Winners of the RBC Plaza Retail Design Competition|
The competition kicked off on March 18, 2011, by challenging 14 students to design a vacant, 2,200-square-foot retail space in downtown Raleigh’s tallest building, RBC Plaza. After conducting a survey of the office customers and condo residents in the building, the students were given the task of creating an affordable boutique that catered to both men and women.
Inspired by Raleigh’s reputation as the “City of Oaks”, Danielle and Lauren named their boutique Akorn. Their design was the only one to feature a mezzanine level and it incorporated a real oak tree in the center of the first floor.
The public was invited to vote for their winning design on Thursday, April 28, in the retail space at RBC Plaza. The winning team was selected based on public opinion as well as input from a five-person judging panel consisting of real estate and design experts.
“Working with an existing space and the many challenges it presents has been an incredible design experience for the students,” said Dr. Martha Burpitt, professor of human environmental sciences and Interior Design program coordinator, Meredith College. “Researching who the target market will be, the location and merchandise offered were the basis for the overriding concept, store name and store design. The students had a great experience with this design challenge.”
|Students Concepting and Taking Measurements|
I am amazed by the talent of these students. You could clearly see the amount of time and research that went into developing their concept, and I appreciate that most of the teams embraced the technology available to them. Talking with several of the students during the award ceremony, they appreciated having a real-life space to design instead of a concept presented to them in the classroom setting, which is often the case. It was a great learning experience for the students and certainly a highlight for their resume as most of them will be graduating this weekend and seeking employment.