Joanne Smith

Project: Reviving the dead shopping mall.

This project is a critique of the current situation of dying shopping malls. My proposal takes place in a semi-vacant shopping mall located in The Hague, in which I have introduced structural and programmatic changes in order to invite new user groups and social awareness to the building. The inspiration for these changes comes from the original plans of the first shopping malls found in 1950s America. I believe the answer to the decline of shopping malls lies in reintroducing the lively, social and all inclusive elements of these early designs.

Thesis: Reviving the dead shopping mall.

In my thesis I have looked closely at Victor Gruen (1903), the Austrian architect who transformed the American shopping mall to what we know today. He 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 his original design is now lost in modern society, therefore, I have explored how to bring back his optimistic and inclusive design methods. This process is validated with the extreme decline in shopping malls throughout the world.