Topshop sparking a new trend in Auckland’s CBD?

March 16, 2015

Design for Auckland

Last week, you may have noticed the sizeable crowd that gathered at the corner of Victoria and Queen Street as Aucklanders waited to get a sneak peek at Auckland’s very first stand-alone Topshop store. Yes, we’re ecstatic that Aucklanders no-longer need to take the pilgrimage to Oxford Street, London for their fix of crop-tops and frocks, but what we’re more excited about is the emerging retail typology that Topshop elegantly represents.

Topshop on Queen Street, joins the ranks an emerging retail typology we are seeing popping up all over Auckland. We already have a few examples, such as Dior, Armani and Swarovski, at the bottom of Queen Street. Internationally, it’s a well-tested and trialled typology. Indeed, many international retail chains benefit from the two-storey format because it allows them to trade efficiently, with maximum window to retail floor space.

The advent of flagship stores, such as Topshop, on a prominent corner in the heart of Queen Street also demonstrates the significance of a central urban location for retail in the 21st century. Perhaps, we are looking at the first exciting glimpse of the rebirth of Queen Street as the retail heart of Auckland.

Topshop’s  format will undoubtedly pave the way for other international retail brands to enter Queen Street. Additionally, with the redevelopment of Precinct Properties downtown shopping centre on the horizon, we are bound to see a growing number of two-storey stores within the city.

Topshop opens on Queen Street

Topshop opens on Queen Street


Yes, when it comes to retail, we’re excited about seeing more of this retail typology, particularly as it offers greater flexibility and the ability to offer the larger retail unit sizes needed by international brands. However, there is a slight cautionary note when it we get down to the actual details of the design. There is a risk of simply ‘transplanting’ international chains without much consideration for whether the design reflects the local identity. The result being – retail centres start to look like ‘clone towns’.

As more of these two-storey flagship stores are constructed, it’s important to consider how Auckland’s design identity could be enhanced by these new two-storey storefront designs. What if the Te Aranga Principles were utilised to support retail design to create a distinctive sense of place in the heart of our city?

One thing is for sure, with new flagship stores like Topshop opening in the heart of our city, the pulse on Queen Street will beat more strongly.

2 Responses to “Topshop sparking a new trend in Auckland’s CBD?”

  1. Jason Says:

    Can you please explain what you mean by Te Aranga principles in this respect? What exactly are you suggesting with regards to retail design? Can you provide some practical examples?



    • Simon Harrison Says:

      Thanks Jason for your question.

      The article provides a link to more information on Te Aranga principles in the Maori Design section of the Auckland Design Manual website. We’re not aware of any retail examples using Te Aranga principles currently, but are looking forward to seeing a wider range of buildings, urban spaces, streets and neighbourhoods that are in development currently. In the meantime if anybody is aware of a good example then get in touch!

      Simon ( ADM team )


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