Immediately upon opening, the Starbucks on Highland Park's ascendant York Boulevard was dubbed "The most depressing Starbucks in America." The stucco outlet comes with a classy drive-through window but no indoor seating and local architect Catherine Garrison has taken to Eastsider LA to explain just why it's so awful, architecturally-speaking (the building formerly housed
Kate Mantilini a Classic Burger). Here: her worst jabs, ranked on a harshness scale measured from zero to four soy lattes:
Dig: "I am surprised that Starbucks let this retail outlet be built under their brand."
Insult level: Two soy lattes
Dig: "They should have taken on the challenge of repurposing a classic Los Angeles typology, the burger stand. Or if the constraints were too challenging, start from scratch and build something worthy of the neighborhood."
Insult level: One soy latte
Dig: "The covered outdoor area is an undefined space with a bathroom door at its center. Starbucks usually bothers to tuck the bathroom door in a corner or off a hall."
Insult level: Two soy lattes and the bathroom key
Dig: "The building has no legible design intent; awkward space planning and poor craftsmanship."
Insult level: Two and a quarter soy lattes
Dig: "When I saw the new Starbucks on York, I thought the building was not only disappointing, but insulting to Highland Park."
Insult level: Three soy lattes and a Splenda
Dig: The real missed opportunity is that the design of the new Starbucks does not match the design sophistication of the neighborhood.
Insult level: Two soy lattes (one soy latte taken away for perhaps a little wishful thinking on Garrison's part)
Dig: "Instead the new Starbucks is a tragic pastiche of design approaches; Classic Burger building massing, with the addition of strip-mall finishes, and a dash of Highland Park themed details."
Insult level: Four soy lattes with a squirt of hazelnut
Dig: "Because of this I suspect the Starbucks will be remodeled in 3-5 years. If it doesn't, it risks watering down its brand."
Insult level: Three soy lattes and a pump of exaggeration
Dig: "[Starbucks's] mission statement says, 'we design our stores to reflect the unique character of the neighborhoods they serve.' No wonder Highland Park residents are not happy with the new Starbucks, it shows a lack of respect for the neighborhood."
Insult level: Three soy lattes
· Is the New Highland Park Starbucks Really That Bad? [Eastsider LA]