Convenience in context
Located directly across from the Bethel Town Hall (home of the planning commission and town planner), this retail development sits on six acres that for many years hosted the town carnival. Consequently, the Town Planner and Planning Commission took a special interest in its design.
Weary of the preponderance of red brick buildings within the town hall area, one of the design restrictions placed on the project was “No brick!” followed by: “We like a colonial feel to our buildings.”
Given that 14,000-square foot retail establishments were not the norm in colonial America, the essential challenge was to avoid creating “faux-lonial” buildings by designing a modern complex inspired by the ideas inherent in colonial architecture.
The subtly coherent grouping, which blends easily into the historic center, was achieved through a combination of modern materials, careful modulation of the façade and attention to alignment and scale, as well as the restrained use of traditional elements like gabled roofs, pediments and pilasters.
Planned together from inception, CWA was commissioned to design two retail buildings within this complex, starting with an adapted version of CVS’s 14,000 sq ft prototype and ending with a 12,000 sq ft retail building anchored by Chase.
The site, bordered by streams, wetlands and local flora & fauna required protection. Implementing the latest Department of Environmental Protection technology, two separate storm water-collecting ponds were constructed and planted with wetlands thriving plants. These cleanse and release back to nature the storm water runoff from the newly introduced impervious development.
Nuts & Bolts
The underlying soil was unsuitable for normal foundation design; however, the depth to a suitable stratum was not so deep to require the use of piles, which were an expensive alternative. GZA, experts in building on the type of silty soils found on this site, were engaged as geotechnical consultants.
What You Don’t See
The foundation. Twelve feet of soil below CVS was excavated and largely replaced in compacted lifts of 12 inches. Chase Plaza is supported on a grid of geo-piers, which are holes bored down approximately 12 feet, spaced approximately 8 feet apart. The holes are then packed and pounded with crushed stone.
Doing errands with dignity, not Disney.