Continuing with the theme of building and designing sports, recreational and community facilities, this week’s blog is all about first impressions and the importance of welcoming your members. I don’t mean by having the nicest doorperson or super chirpy receptionist –these are nice to have – what I’m talking about is a well-designed building entrance. Something that says welcome as soon as you drive up.
Your entrance should be a mixture of practical and wow. It’s the first thing people see so it must:
1. Identify what the building is used for and establish a connection to the streetscape and surrounding community
2. Welcome them inside – easy to see where you need to go and instantly you feel comfortable.
3. Be accessible to everyone – stairs, ramps, sliding doors – not only functionally accessible but also provide a safe area including good lighting and shelter and well drained to keep water from coming in during wet weather
4. Set the tone for the whole building – are you walking into a tranquil retreat for relaxation or are you stepping into an indoor sporting facility.
5. Match the location and setting – are you adding to an existing building or building new. The entrance frames the rest of the building.
There have been several projects CDA have worked on where we have been asked to update the façade and entrance to a building. It is important to create a functional entrance but one where you don’t feel uncomfortable walking into the building.
We proposed a concept for an existing Outdoor Education and Conference Centre. The design marries the original building with the bushland setting and modernises it. Combining the timber and tin heralds the original character yet freshens the entrance.
A PCYC we worked on updated the existing plain building, adding a high-level open structure to visually welcome visitors, along with updating the ramps and the foyer area to open the entrance and access to the reception.
Finally, a rural administration facility was a little more formal due to its functionality yet used the large timber structure to frame the entrance for the entering visitors. In this case the timber was introduced as a softer texture offering warmth and a more human scale to the building.
A home owner tends to the front lawn, the driveway and the gardens of their house to ensure a great first impression, same principals apply to a commercial or recreational building. It shows you take pride in your facility and that you are welcoming people in. Entrances set the tone for how you want to continue and CDA can offer design solutions to create the ideal tone.