Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fugly Rite-Aid Rejected

Click photo to enlarge and see the full fuglyness.

Redesigned Rite Aid not passing planners' muster

By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer

-- Revised plans for a Rite Aid store on Manchester Avenue still are not capturing the country feel of the Olivenhain community, planners said Wednesday.

Members of the Encinitas Planning Commission told developer Jim Halferty in April that designs for the 9,800-square-foot building were too boxlike.

A new set of plans doesn't do enough to correct that problem, city officials said.

Planner Kelly Arndt said she would recommend that the Planning Commission reject the proposal when it meets Aug. 24.

Commissioner Tom McCabe said Wednesday that, in meetings with the developer, he suggested a sloped roof and an improved corner entryway.

"All the sudden they come back with another design that is a typical strip-center box," McCabe said.

read the rest of the story here.

Well, maybe there is hope for Encinitas after all. I applaud the planning department for not cruising on auto pilot and signing off on this crappy "Anywhere USA" generic strip mall garbage that these cheeseball corporations have been ramming down our throat. It would be shameful if the hub of Encinitas, Olivenhain and Rancho Santa Fe was landmarked by fugly architecture.
Nothing against Rite-Aid in particular, they provide services we all need, like Q-Tips and OxyContin, but enough is enough. I'm sure the Rite-Aid suits in Pennsylvania were shocked at the news that some little town in north San Diego county rejected them. Viva dissent!
These crappy strip malls have been blighting up the American landscape for quite some time now. I swear the entire continent will be indistinguishable in another 100 years if we don't stop the bleeding. It is widely believed that the strip mall began in car culture California. The strip mall is a quick stop for goods with no nice landscaping features or gathering places. If strip mall design would embrace it's minimalist function then strip malls wouldn't be as ugly as the proposed Rite-Aid.
Since strip malls began in California I say we either kill the strip mall or force a higher standard on them.
In fact, I think Encinitas has the potential to become famous as a mecca for good architecture and design if we did things right. Imagine, if Encinitas started attracting great architects from around America we could be featured in all the international design magazines and we could have architecture tours as part of our tourism. It might be nice to be known for something besides poinsettias and surfing.


  1. Look for a whiny article from M. Pattinson next week complaining about city planners wielding too much power because they rejected this strip mall.

  2. Rite-Aid can do a lot better. What does that fugly design say about Olivenhain. It could be anywhere. Other retailers build unique stores only when they are forced to. Some do unique design on their own. Urban Outfitters comes to mind, 650 stores in the US, no one alike, but that is their MO. We can insist on good design. Just grow balls and say no.

  3. Its not Leucadia

  4. You're on to something JP. We either become another crappy nothing town like Radondo BeaAAtche, or become a funky version of Laguna Beach. The choice is ours. I say Leucadia should be known for its classy soul in everything we do, including events and architecture. If we do this, developers will want to live here and not want to build crap here. At least Mick lives here. If we adopt the right policies, he wont build the crappy boxes in Encinitas and we will all benefit. If Council doesn't see this, its time to get a council that does see this. Run JP. Run!

  5. JP, I like the idea of making Encinitas into a hotbed of design, however signature architects don't always guarantee good architecture.

    Morphosis designed the new courthouse up here in Eugene and while it's a pretty cool building it sticks out like a sore thumb. It fails to capture the character of the city and the context of its surroundings and as a result it confuses and perplexes the people who live around it. When this happens, Architecture is failing as it begins to satisfy only those who are (or purport to be) intellectually superior and not the everyday joe blow who make up the majority of the public.

    To me, a bunch of trendy Architecture may be great for tours and magazines, but it does not guarantee a better environment to live in. I still think Leucadia's best asset is its virtual lack of architecture in favor of the beach shack ethos that defines it. This is what you will lose when Rite Aide throws up a big ol box store in faux mission style, and I can see this also being lost in favor of something that may be more visually/intellectually stimulating but not any more responsive to what Encinitas/Leucadia are at root.

    Then there is the age old argument as to what "good" architecture is. I am sure whoever threw down that Rite Aid design thinks its pretty solid or they wouldn't have done it. You and I and everyone else commenting here think it sucks, but I am sure a large portion of the latte swilling, SUV driving, Mcmansion living populace like faux mission way better than something your wife or I would come up with. You can't account for the public's bad taste. So what is this good Architecture you envision, and outside of the design community, who is going to endorse it? This is a problem that people have in every city. The lowest common denomonator makes decisions and someone inevitably cringes.

    I wish I had a solution. I'm working on it.


  6. You are right Kolani. Over the top trendy architecture is just as bad if not worse as the developer crap. Out of towner signature architects would probably be a similar disatear. That is why you have to move back to Leucadia.
    I wish there was a way to encourage good design and craftmanship without forming a design review board.

  7. "I wish there was a way to encourage good design and craftmanship without forming a design review board."

    No shit man! You can't legislate good taste, and as I learned working in Del Mar, the design review board often makes things worse (esp. when populated with developers). The challenge in Leucadia is to somehow keep things as free form as they have been but without giving in to the garbage that is being built as far east as the eye can see.

    Anyway, keep up the good work and tell Y I said hello.



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