Rajeunir Black Caviar, Houston

Lead DesignerChandler Ahrens
Project LinkView
Prize(s)Honorable Mention
Entry Description

Rajeunir Black Caviar is a prototype retail store for a start-up luxury dermatological products company that has had a successful online business and wants to expand to brick-and-mortar locations. The owners are seeking to develop brand identity through a unique environment in their store by creating individualized spaces carved out of the walls for each customer and smaller spaces are carved out for product placement. The smooth continuous surface that defines the retail space, when cut into, reveals that the surface has depth which also defines a space to frame customers and products. The deep continuous surface forms the walls and ceiling with millwork. The ceiling and wall surface reveals its thickness in the shelving system where gaps between the horizontal shelves allow view into the depth of the system and provide the opportunity to cut deeply into the shelves to create individual spaces for people to receive product demonstrations.


Chandler Ahrens is an Assistant Professor in the Sam Fox School of Visual Art and Design at Washington University in St. Louis as well as a co-founder of Open Source Architecture (OSA), which is an international research and design architectural practice that has designed, fabricated in mounted several complex installations, curated exhibitions, and completed commissioned architectural projects. Chandler holds a post-professional M. Arch. from the University of California Los Angeles in 2002, a B. Arch. and M.Arch. from Savannah College of Art and Design in 1995.

His teaching focuses on active learning strategies where students are directly engaged in designing and building projects for specific communities. His teaching and area of research find common ground in the nexus of physiological perception of environment, digital design, digital fabrication, and material systems. He has designed, fabricated and mounted installations that exemplify his research, including composite material systems and physiological thermal perception (Klimasymmetry), tensile fabric skin (Whiteout), tensile members (n-Natures), and form-finding algorithms (Hylomorphic Project). He has co-designed, fabricated, and co-curated exhibitions including Evolutive Means, (ACADIA 2010, New York) and The Gen(H)ome Project, (MAK Center 2006, Los Angeles).

He has extensive practical experience integrating building systems, material logic, and digital design processes from small scale installations to large scale skyscrapers. Chandler has worked for several large international architectural firms including nine years as a senior project designer at Morphosis Architects. His work with Open Source Architecture has been extensively internationally published and is part of the collection at the Fonds Regional de Architecture (FRAC) in Orleans, France. He has lectured at various academic institutions including University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Southern California (USC), Cal-Poly Pomona, University of Tel Aviv, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico, and the Confluence Institute in Lyon.