Car washes have an interesting mix of things that should be seen, the
automated washing tunnel, and things that should be hidden, noisy and
ugly equipment. It is from this observation that the concept of a
screen evolved. The density of the screen morphs from nearly opaque to
transparent, hiding the unsightly and emphasizing the visually
appealing aspects of the car wash process. The screen also doubles as a
shading device for both the patrons and employees, protecting them
against the often intense heat of the San Fernando Valley.
We began design work with the client asking us to really
go for it - to look at a complete transformation of the car wash. This initial concept was almost entirely designed in physical model form.
Here are some pictures of the study model:
The street side of the car wash with a bold new roof canopy and sign.
The waiting area. Note the Fashion Square graphic.
The waiting area with screens for sun protection
The wash ordering area
We liked the idea of simplified signs throughout the site. Here at the ordering area we went with one word - "clean".
Under the ordering canopy
Car wash ordering menus
The screen wall is used to hide some of the equipment. but becomes more transparent down the tunnel allowing people to watch their cars in the wash tunnel.
We do much of our architectural design work three dimensionally. One of the best ways to achieve this is through physical study models. Because this project was a remodel, we first built a model of the car wash as it exists. A large base model that we could then manipulate with design options.
Here are a few photos of the 1/4"= 1'-0" scale model we built of the existing car wash, before any modifications. The model quickly made us aware of the simple beauty of the exposed steel structure that repeats throughout the building.
The front (street side) of the car wash
The car wash from above (roof of wash tunnel removed)
The car wash tunnel and beauty of the repetitive steel structure