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Sense of direction

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Architectural detailing reinforces the identity of this new PlaceMakers store and defines services for trade professionals and DIY clients

Sense of direction


Designing a functional and efficient retail store that will cater to trade and the public can pose challenges – especially when the store is very large.

Working to a brief from PlaceMakers, Woodhams Meikle Zhan Architects set out to design the company's new Riccarton store to cater to both these markets – and to create one of the largest building retail stores in Australasia. Woodhams Meikle Zhan Architects believed the building form needed to be simple and robust and it needed to clearly reflect PlaceMakers' commitment to both the construction industry and DIY markets. This was achieved by designing two distinct entries.

"The main building is practical and simple, with contrasting billboards to highlight the entries," says architect Feng Zhan. "Steel cladding in a different profile and orientation provides strong branding and accentuates customer access to different areas."

The retail entry has a large, glazed shop front and cantilevered canopies to create a transparent and inviting entrance for DIY customers. In contrast, the trade entry has light-grey steel cladding and large bold canopies.

The building envelope also features precast concrete panels and a paint scheme that reflects the store's corporate colour palette. This helps to establish market identity at a glance.


Interior Woodhams Meikle Zhan merged the kitchen and bathroom areas within the store.

The amalgamation of the two departments created a good flow and opened up the display areas. A consistency in design and finish helps strengthen the branding. In addition, a dynamic backdrop with oversized imagery and a portal element makes it easy for customers to navigate their way.

For more information, contact Woodhams Meikle Zhan Architects, PO Box 9584, Newmarket, Auckland, phone (09) 377 5215, fax (09) 377 5214.

First published date: 10 December 2004

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