Understand Your Clients’ Storage Needs

Understand Your Clients' Storage Needs

After a recent trip to the BRS-designed Bob L. Burger Recreation Center in Lafayette, Colorado, there was only one thing on my mind: storage.

Everyone we spoke to had something to say about it: how they weren’t able to effectively use their existing storage spaces, their storage wishes, what they were doing to modify what limited space they had… To be fair, the rec center opened in 1990, and the ways in which we deal with storage have come a long way over the past 20+ years. Still, the unfortunate reality is that, when juggling the program and storage space requirements of our clients, it is often the storage that takes a hit to maintain valuable program space.

So how is a design architect to accommodate the storage needs of ever-changing, ever-growing facilities? For one, we propose working closely with the client to plan their storage space. Typically, we design empty closets and leave the shelving design to the owners, who are not interior designers by trade. Getting shelving arrangements and the overall layout in place before occupancy can really simplify the move-in process for the client and assure their storage needs are addressed from the outset rather than as an afterthought. We also want to make sure all the shelving in these spaces is adjustable, so that as clients’ needs change they can modify the spaces as necessary. One item that was of particular importance to the staff at this facility was to ensure shelving began 36 inches above floor level to allow for bins to be pushed underneath the first shelves—for things like toys, balls, crafts materials, etc. Another worthwhile suggestion was to provide a number of cubbies equal to the maximum number of children each classroom or child watch space could serve.

If we simply cannot sacrifice precious square footage to accommodate storage space, the least we can do is maximize utility and organization within the limited spaces set aside by strategizing with our clients early on about their potential storage needs. Having a clear understanding of how these spaces will be utilized can make all the difference once the building opens its doors!

Posted on February 27, 2013 at 06:48pm

Tags: storage (1), operations (2), lessons learned (3), interior space planning (7), community recreation center (31)

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