Oxnard Factory Outlet
The design for the Oxnard Factory Outlet was prepared when Craig Kronenberg was Design Partner of Johannes Van Tilburg and Partners, a forty-person firm in Santa Monica,California. It was prepared for the Carl M. Buck Building Company, a retail developer.
The Factory Outlet is a 285,000 square foot center located along the Ventura Freeway in Oxnard, a middle income community mid way between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. It is adjacent to the more affluent Camarillo; a town distinguished by its design standards requiring Mediterranean architecture with white stucco walls and red clay tile roofs.
When Carl Buck learned that the City of Camarillo was in early stages of planning a factory outlet center, he approached us to design a factory outlet on a 26 acre strawberry field that he owned between two major exits along the freeway. Our mission was to secure approval for the project with a design that was distinctive, very inexpensive, and maximized the visibility of the individual stores to the freeway.
Because much of the surrounding area is characterized by traditional Mediterranean architecture, we knew that if we designed the center in this same style it would have the effect of camouflaging the project. We would also be well over our budget.
So we took our inspiration for the project from the barns and agricultural buildings we found on and near the site, and envisioned the project as an “Agrarian Village”. The stores are designed as agricultural buildings and employ very cost effective tilt up concrete construction painted bright colors with metal awnings and roofs. From the freeway, the outlet center opens up to provide visibility to almost all of the shops. The principle signage for the project is situated strategically for maximum visibility on top of a water tower that was purchased from a farm in Northern California. The access road signage is placed on a structure modeled after a corncrib not far from the site. The food court is situated under an open-air metal roof resembling a stable.
We carried the Agrarian Village concept into the parking lot and envisioned it as an Agrarian Garden, an orchard in which the cars are parked between and underneath a canopy of trees. We filled the lot with fruit trees and date palms, the sterile variety that doesn’t drop fruit.
The graphics and signage for the center and for the individual stores were carefully considered to provide uniformity with maximum visibility. Individual stores are signed to the parking lot on a metal placard suspended from the canopy and lit by fluorescent lights concealed behind the gutter.
Blade signs are suspended from the canopy trusses and oriented 90 degrees to the stores so a shopper can see what stores are beyond along the continuously covered walk. The blank spaces between the shops are filled with blown up images of orange crate labels from the turn of the century that depict a California of rolling hills and orange groves. Street furniture and parking lot lights adopt the simple aesthetic of the buildings.
Our design team secured the design approval from the City of Oxnard within the allotted time frame. Phase One of the Oxnard Factory Outlet opened about a year later owing to the simplicity of its construction. It was 100% leased on opening day. Phase Two commenced construction immediately and is now complete. It is an immensely popular roadside attraction that brings in a considerable tax increment into the City of Oxnard.