DKO Architecture has announced the appointment of Frank Alvarez as new Commercial and Joint Director.
Alvarez was previously Director at Ignite Architects and Global Retail Leader at Woods Bagot. Prior to that, he was part of the design management teams at Westfield (Scentre Group), where he gained much of his experience. Alvarez says he’s passionate about cross-industry experiences, the effects of consumer behavior, and how to exert a compelling pull on consumers and visitors who aren’t duplicated online. One thing to avoid is to build too much retail.
“We need to update our notion of ‘activating’ spaces only with retail and food service,” he said. “Instead, we should be shaping the next standard by exploring new, workable typologies with the goal of decentralizing stand-alone retail assets and shopping-only districts and reimagining these hubs as cool community lifestyle destinations. and attractive. This is especially important as the Gen Y and Z population matures and moves out of urban settings, while still wishing for the experiences they have had as city dwellers.
“The majority of retail outlets in shopping centers are located on large plots of particularly zoned land and in many cases are surrounded by large parking lots. Given today’s issues regarding relevant retail and the survival of particular brands, a “retail rewrite” aims to create opportunities to reinvent these sites to become thriving micro-communities. The critical factor will be to ensure that this development process is designed from the inside out, with daily community stories as the narrative. The redevelopment and precise integration of the peripheral parts of these sites can become places to live, work, learn, heal, feed and vacation – creating not only a sense of belonging, but also a purpose.
Alvarez believes seismic changes are driven by the consumer and their predominant need for convenience and on-demand lifestyles.
“The consumer is the new ‘point of sale’ because he controls everything from anywhere. As architects and designers, we need to help them bring life to great places with purpose. “