Fort Worth, Texas
Located in the cultural hub of Fort Worth, the new Chroma Modern Eyewear Eyecare by Bart Shaw of Ibanez Shaw Architecture takes full advantage of a great location in the city to broadcast a brand and invite patrons into a compelling retail experience.
Chroma Modern Eyewear Eyecare has recently been awarded a 2022 American Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
A common approach in optical stores is to place millwork display fixtures around the perimeter of the retail space. These units are often positioned with backs to the storefront trading daylight for posters and advertisements in windows.
At Chroma the optical sales area is not internal, it extends from the mass of the building as a glass box.
The daylight is viewed as an asset in the full spectrum viewing of the merchandise and is uninhibited as it animates the space.
Free-flowing display fixtures offer a dynamic exploration of a curated collection of frames.
The support shafts for the display are 6×6 steel angles. The same geometry appears in the glass curtainwall, and reveals itself in open frames along the elevated walkway, a gradual immersion into the experience as one approaches the building.
The meandering eyewear exhibition projects out to the exterior — portraying to the street the retail experience inside. At night the display shafts are lit with colors of the brand.
The illuminated structures are presented to the community like a work of sculpture protected by a glass case.
The experience of the space and its bold image viewed from the exterior is a core element of the brand. And it often has a captive audience.
Chroma is located directly across the street from the new “Dickies Arena,” a 14,000-seat multipurpose venue, which often has potential patrons streaming toward the building on foot and in vehicles waiting to exit.
The building was completed for approximately $285/SF. This was achieved using a tilt-wall concrete building system typically used for warehouses.
The concrete panels are used structurally with steel and glue-laminated beams free-spanning between panels.
Window openings were kept to a minimum on the west portion of the building which houses the optometry testing and exam rooms, spaces that require restricted daylight. All concrete panels were cast on-site on casting beds.
The panels have an unaltered natural finish with no chamfer to retain the purist qualities of the concrete. The grade beam along Montgomery was cast with a mix-and-form system designed to blend with the panel finish.
Unlike a typical tilt-wall building, the slab was cast after all panels and structures were in place to eliminate any column base or perimeter cold joints.
The acrylic display boxes, designed by the architect for this project were made locally, and the junction boxes are embedded into the backside of the panel where they are mounted.
The vertical shelf displays were made with bent steel plates and round glass shelves.
To cut the cost of the materials and fabrication the shelves were sourced from mass-produced glass trivets. Simple steel fabrications and solid surfaces were used for the counters and desks. The floors are polished concrete and the signage is all simple powder-coated aluminum plate.
Project: Chroma Modern Eyewear Eyecare
Architects: Ibanez Shaw Architecture LLC.
Lead Architect: Bart Shaw
Contractor: Steele & Freeman, Inc.
Client: Matt Barber, Chroma Modern Eyewear Eyecare