Convenience Store & Restaurant in Quonset Hut

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Selected for Display: Retrospective Alumni Exhibit, 1952-2012, Georgia Tech College of Architecture

A long-time client approached us about doing a convenience store in Henry County, Georgia. We had previously designed his Italianate home in McDonough, Georgia, and his family's business offices in East Point, Georgia. The success of those projects — and our Studio's flexibility in working with a client — brought him back to us.

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He wanted to build a convenience store with a raw industrial feel. Andy Jessup, as Architect, suggested the building shell be a quonset hut, to create a unique image consistent with the farming history of the area, honest to the building type and low in cost. The surroundings were rapidly suburbanizing, and we did not want this prototype forgotten. Still prevalent in nearby regions and with remnants close by, it was evocative of technologies emerging in the mid-twentieth century, with particular importance to the agrarian and aviation economies of the Southern Crescent of Metro Atlanta. In keeping with these, we used a 1940's airplane hangar theme for the interior, using the quonset hut form & ribs as the core of our vocabulary, taking delight in the corrugated cladding's texture.

Materials such as metal, metal laminates, corrugated metal, pale woods, and concrete became our palette. Our Interior Design team designed custom gondolas, cashier counters, and refreshment centers. Specialty ceilings and floor finishes were chosen, as well as industrial light fixtures. Bright accent colors and period furniture were suggested to complete the look. This was not intended to be your average convenience store! 

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Our client approved these ideas, and began the early phases of construction in late Fall, 2001. As we learned, Andy's neat design ideas sometimes led to challenges. For example, research time was needed to locate a manufacturer of this building shell, though we ultimately found a few. Our experienced structural engineering consultants tackled the unusual foundation design required to support the arched structure, and especially the client-requested side entry to the Pizzeria. The raw, polished finish of the concrete floors anticipated their use by several years in suburban areas, but were intentionally redolent of floors in old farm buildings, filling stations, and agricultural sheds.

Though the shell cost of the quonset hut was low, it afforded enough volume to add a second floor business office in the center without increasing roof area or foundation size. Finally, our experience with code review helped to contain costs through strategies designed to maximize customer safety, accessibility, and convenience.

The store is located on Conyers Road in McDonough, Georgia. Construction cost was approximately $670,000 when built. Completed Summer 2002.

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