Architecture for Eco Express
Architecture is one of the most variable and fluid elements of a car wash. It provides not only the functional basis for your equipment installation, but also the visual appeal and draw for the motoring public. Driving factors for design include car wash theme, local architecture standards, municipal preferences, owner concepts, maintainability and cost. This is complicated proportionally by the number of partners in the project, each of whom may have differing ideas and opinions as to what is best.
One of the pitfalls that many owners fall prey to, is designing a fantastically ornate building that looks like the Taj Mahal to attract business, but then find they run into budget constraints and have to skimp on the equipment, the heart of the cash-generating business. Customers may come in once to check out the new facility, but then are disappointed by the wash quality and experience inside the facility. Owners also find that when they eliminate equipment from the wash to save on initial costs, they are left with higher long term expenses and lower revenue. For example an owner may only use 3 dryers instead of 12, and one set of wraps instead of two. While this saves tens of thousands of dollars up front, the owner is required to hire additional employees to dry vehicles every day costing tens of thousands of dollars, year after year. He must also slow down the conveyor speed to allow the remaining equipment to adequately clean the vehicles, reducing the maximum revenue that can be generated on busy days.
At Eco Express, we wanted an architecture that would be highly visible from the street, as well as stand out in a fairly low income neighborhood. Several key elements included a large tower near the street to give the building prominence and large areas for signage. We also made sure to use the maximum square footage allowed for windows, giving passing traffic a clear view into the tunnel of vehicles being washed, and the motion of the equipment inside as a natural draw for the eye. Structurally we selected a block structure with facades to give us a sturdy facility that would avoid deterioration in a moist environment, yet give us the flexibility to have the exterior attractive, all for reasonable cost. Skylights and additional lights were added to the tunnel to maximize the open feel, avoiding the ‘coffin’ experience so prevalent at many of our competitors.