Message - Re: are all shopping malls alike?

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Posted by  Jim on June 29, 2003 at 19:04:35:

In Reply to:  Re: are all shopping malls alike? posted by Rog the Dodge on June 28, 2003 at 12:42:08:

In the senses of the human traffic patterns and the products traffic patterns, Rog is quite right since all malls serve nearly the same purpose, but the individual architecture, while they have understandable similarities, can vary tremendously from location to location. Perhaps the site limitations are 50% of the variables, and the client/owner's taste and pocketbook are the other 50%, allowing for local code variations, etc. Thus, there is nothing new in major design, but only in the quality and ingenuity with which it is carried out. Trends in shopping mall design have been studied in various books, and one can study them as a phenomenon from tiny strip malls of a few stores, to the giant Mall of America in Minnesota, the largest known, last I heard. One book: "The Malling of America" was a clever title that was more truth than pun. Other books, such as one on 'Winter Gardens' (or 'Wintergartens' to spell it the original German way) see malls around the world as glassed-in refuges from winter and inclement weather that also happen to sell goods, such as the Rialto in Venice. I doubt the Italians would like to call this a mall, but the books make an excellent argument that it is one of their predecessors.

Rog is right that this should be approached cautiously as a student project since it does not have the firm backbone of architectural innovation that, say, the skyscraper has, and may be denigrated by professors and architects who like to consider such things as cathedrals. While the movie palace was called the "Cathedral of the Motion Picture" I doubt that many will be as impressed with a thesis about the malls as 'National Monuments to Consumer Consumption', and the pun is intended! In the northern climate I live in, malls are a boon to those seeking to evade the weather, but whether they are high architecture or not is open to question.

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