CHICAGO — The winning centers that emerged in the 34th annual Bowlers Journal International Architecture & Design Awards make one thing resoundingly clear: The bowling industry’s trend toward establishments in which the sport shares the spotlight with an array of other entertainment options shows no signs of slowing down.
While the 18 winners across 12 categories of consideration exhibit no shortage of imagination or daring, the financial investments behind the projects demonstrate that, thanks to the trend toward family entertainment centers and distinctively themed boutiques, the business world may be seeing more value in the bowling industry than it has in years.
Among the winners, which are showcased in the November issue of BJI, is the €100 million ($114 million) remodeling of Safari Resort Beekse Bergen in the Netherlands. The 50-year-old safari-themed resort culminated with the gorgeous new bowling center inside a new central building called Karibu Town. Patrons can dine outdoors as they observe nearby giraffes and watusi, while custom masking units and furniture enable the QubicaAMF center’s sparkling interior design to embody the resort’s safari theme at every turn. The distinctiveness of its theme, décor, design and experience helped put it over the top in this year’s competition.
The stunner among the renovation projects highlighting this year’s BJI Architecture & Design Awards is the audacious remodeling of Asbury Lanes in Bruce Springsteen’s old stomping ground, Asbury Park, N.J. “The Boss” actually performed at the Brunswick center’s grand reopening on June 10, and the project was well deserving of such a high-profile christening. The weathered, preserved exterior signage evokes the gritty Asbury Park of Springsteen’s youth, and a dashing interior makeover thrusts the center into the 21st century while throwback furnishings and an old-school themed “diner” capture the mid-century Americana of the 20th.
While US Bowling’s Ocean5 in Gig Harbor, Wash., offers a 6,000-sq.-ft. laser tag area, both duckpin and tenpin bowling, and an arcade with 50 games, the center’s breathtaking restaurant, Table 47, stands on its own as a premier dining destination. Ocean5 is likely to realize a prized goal among proprietors in the entertainment-center era: It is a place where the dining experience is as buzz-worthy as the amusement options. Table 47 won in the category of Best New Center — Lounge/Restaurant.
Pin + Proof inside the Omni Hotel in Louisville, Ky., broke through in the category of Best New Center — Boutique with its Prohibition Era-themed speakeasy where everything from the décor to the cocktails and small bites evokes the age of jazz and drinks. Among other distinctive flourishes featured in this year’s Design Awards winners is the Googie architecture-inspired exterior design of Alley Cats in Hurst, Texas. There, the argyle pattern of the exterior wall, the starbursts, the finned red wedge and offset lettering evokes a mid-20th century vibe. Alley Cats won in Best Renovated Center — Exterior.
Be sure to check out all 18 winners in the 34th annual BJI Architecture & Design Awards in the November issue of BJI. Proprietors in the boutique and family-entertainment center space today are bound to come away from the issue with ideas to ponder and possibilities to pursue.
34th annual BJI Architecture & Design Awards Winners
Best New Center – Safari Resort Beekse Bergen, Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands
Best New Center, Boutique (U.S.) – Pin + Proof, Louisville, Ky.
Best New Center, Boutique (International) – Bolera Mayorca, Sabaneta, Antioquia, Colombia
Best New Center, Boutique (International, Honorable Mention) – Ballroom, Tbilisi City, Georgia
Best New Center, FEC (International) – Level, Preston, U.K.
Best New Center, FEC (U.S.) – Spare Time, Greenville, S.C.
Best New Center, Interior (International) – Lucky’s, Warmond, Netherlands
Best New Center, Interior (International, Honorable Mention) – BNA Bowl, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Best New Center, Interior (U.S.) – The Painted Duck, Atlanta, Ga.
Best New Center, Exterior – Amaazia Club, Gujarat, India
Best New Center, Lounge/Restaurant – Table 47 Inside Ocean5, Gig Harbor, Wash.
Best New Center, Ancillary Profit – High5, Bettendorf, Iowa
Best Renovated Center, Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park, N.J.
Best Renovated Center, Interior (U.S.) – Gulf Bowl, Foley, Ala.
Best Renovated Center, Interior (International) – Bowling Room Hagen, Hagen, Germany
Best Renovated Center, Exterior – Alley Cats, Hurst, Texas
Best Renovated Center, Boutique – Hilliard, Ohio
Best Renovated Center, Lounge/Restaurant – Zone28, Pittsburgh, Pa.