The Importance Of Architecture In Retail Branding
The most influential American architect may not be Frank Lloyd Wright or Frank Gehry.
He may not have been named Frank at all.
The most influential American architect might be a Wichita-based artist and draftsman named Robert Burke. In the mid-’60s, Burke created one of the most iconic and instantly recognizable architectural features on the American landscape: the Pizza Hut roof.
Since about 2002 or 2003, Pizza Hut — owned by Yum! Brands — has been de-emphasizing the dine-in design in favor of carry-out and, by extension, de-emphasizing those instantly recognizable brown and red roofs in favor of more serviceable roofs.
The traditional Pizza Hut roof is an example of the sort of retail architecture that, despite being unsung and uncelebrated, still packs a historical and cultural wallop.
It is the sort of unheralded architecture that has immeasurably bolstered the brand identities of the companies that have championed and dispersed it.
Abandoned or repurposed former Pizza Huts tend to take on lives of their own — lives that neither the former or current tenants are (perhaps) entirely comfortable with.