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In Search of the Perfect Daytime Storefront: IV. Visual Cognition

Tiny Shopfront, Photo used under Creative Commons
Shopping Center Facade, Photo compliments of Lord Muttley McFester


Close inspection will reveal that these two storefront views have something in common. By amplifying the peripheral they draw attention to the particular. The textured glass used in the top panes and transom of the quilt shop have the effect of sending the viewer in search of visual clarity, which she quickly finds in the detail of the merchandise displayed in the main window below.

Something similar is happening to the shopping center facade, only on a larger scale. The reflective facade material creates an impressionistic image and implies that there is more detail which is only revealed when the shopper follows her natural inclination to identify and assign meaning. This she finds in the store signage and entries below. I call this visual cognition. It takes place in a second; just long enough to get the shopper to take note of the store and maybe even decide to go in.

Bridget Gaddis, is a Licensed Architect and LEED-accredited Professional practicing nationally, and locally in the Washington DC area. She holds professional degrees in both Architecture and Interior Design, and with a comprehensive background in commercial retail design, planning and construction has completed projects for such for such well known brands as Chloe, Zegna, and Bvlgari. Her career began in tenant coordination and site planning for two well-known Cleveland developers, followed by six years in store planning for a national retailer. After a move to New York City in 1997, she spent the next years working for architecture firms specializing in retail projects. In 2011 she started her own practice in Alexandria, VA. Ms. Gaddis is the author of two blogs dealing with architectural subjects.

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