Students to unveil designs for next-generation grocery stores

George Mann

Zhipeng Lu

Caren Easterling

Concepts for a new generation of H-E-B grocery stores, created by design students at Texas A&M, will be unveiled at 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 19 in the exhibit hall of Building B in the Langford Architecture Center.

Students will also be unveiling designs of vehicles that H-E-B could utilize to teach people about healthy diets and sell produce in areas underserved by grocery stores.

The designs are being created in an “Architecture-For-Health” studio led by George J. Mann, holder of the Ronald L. Skaggs Professorship in Health Facilities Design, and Zhipeng Lu, architecture lecturer.

Students began the project, “The H-E-B Market of the Future at the Intersection of Nutrition, Health, Wellness and Architecture,” by visiting two of the chain’s flagship stores in Austin and listening to presentations from company architects, engineers and nutritionists.

In the studio, 11 graduate architecture students and 15 environmental design students working in six groups are proposing that grocery stores of the future include gardening demonstration areas, spaces for farmer’s market produce, cooking and nutrition education centers and areas for health screenings.

They are collaborating with Caren Easterling '89, director of planning and design for H-E-B Design + Construction, and a group of H-E-B architects, health promotion managers and building engineers. Additional collaborators include educators Bita Kash, director of the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health Center for Health Organization Transformation, Boon Chew, head of the Texas A&M Department of Nutrition and Food Science and Eric Bardenhagen, assistant professor of landscape architecture.

The students, with input from their collaborators, are also creating “mobile educational units,” vehicles small enough to fit on neighborhood streets but large enough to house nutrition education programs, serve neighborhoods without grocery stores with fresh produce, or contribute to relief efforts after a natural disaster.

Some designs include enough room in the vehicles for classes and produce sales, while others designed vehicles with no public interior access, opting instead to include shading systems in their designs for activities outside the vehicle.

Following the Oct. 19 review, students will revise and develop their ideas and present final designs to H-E-B executives at the end of the fall 2015 semester.


posted October 15, 2015