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Camera ready

image FORT Construction and architect Bart Shaw focused on creating a glossy new Fort Worth Camera store.

DALLAS/FT WORTH - Nestled among an older Fort Worth neighborhood, a vibrant cultural district and unceasing construc-tion on Montgomery Street, the new Fort Worth Camera location is ready for its close-up.






    FORT Construction’s superintendent Matt Averitt and project manger Kadie Midkiff collaborated with award-win-ning architect Bart Shaw and owner’s representative TownSite Company to create a camera enthusiast’s nirvana. The project, located at 1600 Montgomery St., began last June and was completed in February.
    The shop’s exterior style fits neatly into its surroundings and is a credit to Shaw’s thoughtful eye – the space is modern enough to hold its own with the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History across the street, with industrial character that keeps up with the neighboring homes’ charm.
    The store, which is comprised of exposed concrete, glulam beams and steel, is also photogenic from every angle. One backlit wall, peppered with graduated circular openings, cleverly references a camera’s light aperture. Those circular openings are echoed in Fort Worth Camera’s eye-catching white metal sign, which is stretched out from the building’s side like an arm taking a selfie. A large butt glazed window on one side of the storefront acts as a lens, inviting the curious to peek into the store.
    Inside, customers are immediately greeted with a wide concrete wall displaying rows of antique cameras, posed behind a long glass display case. Polished concrete floors reflect the bright lights dangling from a corrugated metal ceiling. A lounge area, illuminated by lights meant for studio use, entices people to sit and stay awhile.
    The space, which is as practical as it is stylish, includes both a 48-seat and a
30-seat classroom. A room is available for individual tutoring sessions, and custom-ers can also utilize a rental studio. A cozy children’s area for the next generation of photographers is a sunny spot in the building.
    As any photographer knows, there can be challenges in getting the shot just right, and the team faced their own during the construction process. The store was constructed among weary and wary neighbors. Residents already had years of battle training from museum-goers parking in the neighborhood rather than paying garage rates. In the past year, Montgomery St. construction has ramped up in preparation for the new Will Rogers Memorial Center as well, further inconveniencing and irritating the neighbors. It was no surprise, then, that the construction team had their work cut out for them from the start.
    “We had very poor weather at the beginning stages and throughout the project, which caused unforeseen issues. However, with project team coordination we were able to overcome the weather impacts with minimal setbacks,” Midkiff says.
    To ease the neighbors’ minds, Averitt worked to establish a line of communication.  “Matt developed a great relation-ship with the neighbors around the site to make sure they were aware of impor-tant milestones that could affect them,” Midkiff says.
    FORT Construction also had to work within the area’s very limited space, presenting a challenge not just in materials delivery, but also when the concrete tilt walls needed to be lifted from their casting beds with a crane and set over cast-in-place walls. A lot of the miscellaneous steel for the butt glazed window frame assembly was self-performed by FORT Construction.
    “We had an extremely tight site, which caused us to have little to no space for materials, parking and site layout for tilt wall casting beds, but we all worked together and made it work,” Midkiff says. “Subcontractors had to be flexible with many mobilizations. Everyone had to be flexible and communicate throughout this entire project. We really appreciate the neighbors’ help with parking assistance and their patience during the project.”
    In addition to the team’s hard work, Midkiff also gives the project’s architect credit for the project’s success.
    “The front feature concrete wall is very unique, as well as the design and tilt wall process,” she says. “Bart Shaw was extremely creative not only with the building itself but with overcoming issues as they arose.”
    Now that the Fort Worth Camera project has been fully developed, the store is ready for exposure.
    “Fort Worth Camera is a great addition to the cultural district,” Midkiff says. “We are proud to be a part of bringing such an innovative design to life.”
    FORT Construction is a full-service construction firm offering design build, pre-construction, construction management and general contracting services. –mjm

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Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net