Rick Hoag has always liked the “quirky, ’50s-’60s feel” of Compo Shopping Center.
So when his Frederick William Hoag Architects firm got the chance to redesign the façade of one of Westport’s first strip malls, he was eager to help.
The west (CVS, Planet Pizza) side was built in 1957. The east (Gold’s, Little Kitchen) portion followed shortly after.
It’s really, really long. It’s home to a diverse array of different-sized tenants. And regulatory challenges constricted the type of changes Hoag could do.
But he’s nothing if not resourceful.
“The existing architecture exudes a playful mid-century vibe with sweeping fascias and inclined façades, retro forms, and language to be celebrated within a contemporary architectural skin,” he says.
“The existing sloped cornice seems to put the whole building façade in motion, emulating the automobiles traveling the Post Road.”
That reminded him of “Norman Rockwell-like images of happy American families shopping. before whisking off in their Chris-Craft on Long Island Sound.”
That classic speedboat concept inspired his design.
By applying finishes as a rain screen, he and his firm maintained the existing weather tightness of the building.
LED lights are a 21st-century thing. But Hoag designed them in a way that, he says, embraces both the spirit of the retro façade, and the feel of today.
The result — with help from Bill Achilles, earlier in the process — is emerging now. A.V. Tuchy — the Norwalk builders doing the renovation — should be finished in March.
Then, the scaffolds will come down. The “new” Compo Shopping Center will sparkle by day, and shine by night.
That may attract more shoppers and restaurant-goers than ever.
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