Location: New York, New York
This project involved the complete renovation of an existing 800-sf car rental facility in the heart of New York City. The existing facility is carved out of a dense urban block in mid-town Manhattan located below a popular stage theatre and adjacent to a multilevel parking garage where car rental transactions and car storage are staged. The primary purpose of this project was to upgrade customer service areas with the new corporate image we developed with the owner, which reflects a contemporary environment including updated architectural, interior design, and graphic components.
The design emphasizes a welcoming and contemporary customer service experience. Building materials and colors were inspired by the modern automobile and include leather perforated bench seating, a travel center clad in carbon fiber, walnut and maple wood tones, and metal accents which weave throughout the building interior and exterior. Key interior elements include a new LED backlit feature wall design incorporating the client’s signature yellow logo and video graphics emphasizing the company brand. The exterior façade also includes the recognizable company branding color and billboard-style backlit graphics, incorporated with a cantilevered wave canopy stretched across the entire elevation to help capture the attention of approaching drivers and pedestrians in an especially competitive visual environment.
A key piece of furnishings for the prototype was a new customer service pod for rental transactions. The custom designed pod features an innovative use of limited space for housing the multitude of required equipment while maintaining strict ergonomic and barrier-free design criteria. Drum-style light fixtures accent the pod and provide task lighting for customers and staff. Private staff areas are limited to one small office to maximize areas devoted to customer service.
It was imperative that the building interior flows to the exterior and the feature yellow logo wall branding is visible from both the pedestrian and driver’s perspectives. The new metal panel cladding and expanded glass storefront updates the exterior and transforms this understated building into a bold and identifiable business architectural statement for the owner, by day and night.
- The small building footprint was a challenge since inception. With the new program requirements needing to fit within the existing space, every square inch was important.
- The schedule necessitated the site remain open for business during construction in the summer months, along with the challenging New York City construction environment.The new signage concept was limited by the building department which provided additional challenges in sizing and lighting to create an eye-catching and integrated design.
- The long-range project impact is to keep the owner at the forefront of the competitive car rental business. Construction documents were completed in May 2010, construction started in April 2011 and completed in August 2011.