Joanne Smith. Graduation Project 2013/2014 – Reviving the Dead Shopping Mall
Reviving the Dead Shopping Mall
This project is a critique on the current situation of dying shopping malls. My proposal takes place in a semi-vacant shopping mall located in The Hague, The Megastores. This oversized giant ‘woonboulevard’ mainly concentrated on living and home stores, was built in 2000. From its immediate start the Megastores attracted very little people despite its central location in the city centre near the train station Hollands Spoor. In order to invite new user groups and social awareness to the mall, in my graduation project I have introduced some structural and programmatic changes.
The inspiration for these changes comes from the original plans of the first shopping malls ound in 1950s America. Joanne has looked closely at the Austrian-born architect Victor Gruen (1903-1980) who transformed the American shopping mall to what we know today. He has proved to be a thought provoking and sympathetic individual who considered suburban shopping malls as the perfect canvas for social cohesion, combined with consumerism. Sadly the translation of Gruen’s original ideas are now lost in modern society. Joanne has explored how to bring back his optimistic and inclusive design methods and to compose her ‘ideal shopping mall’ for the future. On the basis of her research Joanne has concluded that the ideal mall is less concerned with shopping as main activity, but is more concentrated on the themes of COMMUNITY and DIVERSITY.
This process is validated with the extreme decline in shopping malls throughout the world. According to Joanne Smith, the answer to the decline fo the shopping malls lies in reintroducing the lively, social and all inclusiv elements of the early designs by the pioneer of the shopping mall: Victor Gruen.