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FAKESCAPE The Illusion of Placeness in Shopping Malls Dr. Cristian Suau Margarita Munar Bauzรก Welsh School of Architecture Cardiff University UK


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

FACTS 1

New types of ‘urbanised’ grand retail in the UK, with a large impact in inner urban fabrics

2

These new types are more ‘contextualised’ and even more compact than their suburban predecessors. They have to diversify the monofunctional or hegemonic use through the implementation of additional programmes such as dwellings, offices, museums, etc. thus allowing the hybridisation of the scheme

3

This retail type is defined as a market space (tangible or not) that affects the relationship between supply and demand. Classically it employs three key principles: Variety, Novelty and Service.

4

Nowadays the paradox of many European cities is that the centre has mutated into a ‘peripheral’ zone, a sort of administrative and symbolic core. The depreciation and abandonment of urban parcels allow shifting depots and large commerce from sprawls into urban centres.


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

Indoor ice-skating in a shopping mall, Beijing. Source: Suau (2011)


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

QUESTIONS In the era of e-commerce, how can we understand the current design principles and function of shopping malls as non-urban compact retail? What is the ‘sense of placeness’ in nowadays shopping centres?

AIM 1

It reflect upon the notion of place and urbanity in key commercial cases by questioning if this new type of shopping centres is contributing to place making through design: Place and Urbanity, Utopia versus Heterotopia. It illustrates the key illusory factors employed to inject ‘Placeness’ in the design and their urban articulation.

2

It identifies formal aspects that contribute to the design and analysis of pioneering shopping centres in European cities (Almere and Barcelona) and the UK: Cabot Circus in Bristol and St David’s 2 in Cardiff.


1. The Illusion of Placeness in the Junkspace Jungle


‘The Galactic Shopping Mall’ by David Orme. Source: Ransom Publishing (2009)


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

NEW WAY OF SHOPPING 1

Nowadays, massive retail architecture appears uncategorized and cannot yet be treated as public nor private domains.

2

They perform as polyvalent containers and paradigms of the public spaces in European cities.

3

Generally, the academic notion of public space is perceived only as outdoor place while the shopping malls are sadly defined as nonplaces; merely indoor private buildings.

4

The chosen cases will show the mutation of the notion of public space, creating new types of public interiors, as containers of leisure and also they demonstrate how an increasing amount of these public buildings have been incorporated by users as part of the network of public spaces in our cities.


‘I Shop Therefore I am I’, 1987 (left); ‘You Are Not Yourself’, 1984 (middle) and installation at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (right), 2006 by Barbara Kruger. Her pithy texts and massive installations have made direct contact with audiences around the world to bring attention to the worlds of power, politics and propaganda. Using the methods and media of advertising, design and merchandise, Kruger has infiltrated her messages into the lived experience of the cultural consumer. Source: Barbara Kruger’s website


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

GENERICNESS & ILLUSIONS 1

Following our previous studies on ‘Malls in the Online Shopping Era’ we have underscored than the effect of e-commerce has gradually switched the initial role of the shopping malls.

2

For instance, objects are displayed in malls and boutiques firstly and then are bought online. Nowadays the interiors of malls are perceived as ‘showrooms’ rather than stores in the traditional sense and hence consumers are considering them as scenery inserted within a larger system of urban public amenities.

3

This study reveals new conceptualisations for an operative analysis of the phenomenon of shopping places as part of the culture of spectacle, governed by the principles of genericness, compactness and speed.


‘No-Stop City / Interior Landscape’ by Archizoom (1969)


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

PLACENESS & UTOPIA 1

‘Placeness' constitutes ritualised obsession among architectural critique and output mainly regarding public living

2

The crisis of the traditional concept of place-form is a problem that arise precisely the progressive consciousness of the city as an autonomous arena of architectural interventions. As Manfredo Tarufi affirmed the city has become ‘an open system, within which it was utopian to seek points of equilibrium’ (‘Architecture and Utopia’, 1976)

3

Regarding the destiny of contemporary cities and its public realms, they are places of technological production thus reducing architecture to a mere link in the production chain. So far the dilemma of urban economies regarding place versus non-place, or urban versus non-urban is merely a diffuse territory.


Shopping mall in postcards. Source: Boring Postcards USA, Phaidon 2004


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

PLACENESS & UTOPIA 1

‘Placeness' constitutes ritualised obsession among architectural critique and output mainly regarding public living

2

The crisis of the traditional concept of place-form is a problem that arise precisely the progressive consciousness of the city as an autonomous arena of architectural interventions. As Manfredo Tarufi affirmed the city has become ‘an open system, within which it was utopian to seek points of equilibrium’ (‘Architecture and Utopia’, 1976)

3

Regarding the destiny of contemporary cities and its public realms, they are places of technological production thus reducing architecture to a mere link in the production chain. So far the dilemma of urban economies regarding place versus non-place, or urban versus non-urban is merely a diffuse territory.


2. Shopping Mall as Junkspace


SHIFTING Progressive mutation of the mall, from suburban to urban contexts and from analogic sales to online shopping. Source: Suau (2009)


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

JUNKSPACE 1

In Kolhaas’s thought, Junkspace is ‘the body-double of space, a territory of impaired vision, limited expectation, reduced earnestness. Junkspace is a Bermuda triangle of concepts, a petri dish abandoned: it cancels distinctions, undermines resolve, confuses intention with realization. It substitutes hierarchy with accumulation, composition with addition. More and more, more is more’. He adds then: ‘(it) is like being condemned to a perpetual Jacuzzi with millions of your best friends... A fuzzy empire of blur, it fuses high and low, public and private, straight and bent, bloated and starved to offer a seamless patchwork of the permanently disjointed’. Rem Kolhaas, Junkspace, pp 10-11


Almere Shopping Mall. Source: Suau (2007)


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

THE NOTION OF HETEROTOPIA 1

Michel Foucault is his manuscript called ‘Of Other Spaces (1967), Heterotopias’, reflected on the notion of the ‘space of emplacement’ where the modern living do not dwell in a homogeneous and empty space any longer, but on the contrary in a space thoroughly impregnated with illusory and phantasmatic quantities as well.

2

We do not inhabit an abstract void but ‘a set of relations that delineates sites which are irreducible to one another and absolutely not superimposable on one another’.

3

Foucault affirms that ‘loci’ or ‘localization has been substituted for extension which itself had replaced emplacement’. He adds that ‘our epoch is one in which space takes for us the form of relations among sites’, relations of proximity between points or elements. (Michel Foucault, ‘Des Espace Autres’, 1967)


RETAIL VERSUS ONLINE

This diagram shows the fast growth of online sales. Source: authors (2009)


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

HETEROTOPIA & MARKET SPACE 1

Foucault defines Utopia as ‘sites with not real place’ -unreal spaces-, opposite to real spaces or heterotopias. What is the heterotopia of deviation in the contemporary market space?

2

3

The heterotopic space -such as a shopping centre- is capable of overlapping in a single real place, several spaces that are in themselves incompatible. In addition, Foucault delineates that ‘heterotopias are mostly linked to slices in time’, in other worlds heterochronies. The idea of accumulation of time is well-achieved in the market space as a sort of general container that encloses in one emplacement all times, all epochs, and all forms: A place of all times that is situated outside of time and therefore inaccessible, a perpetual and immobile place.


Main Entrance and interior of the ‘Galleria Umberto’ in Naples. Source: Suau (2011)


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

BEYOND THE AMERICAN MALL Beyond the legacy of Learning from Las Vegas, we wonder if retail architecture is still a “(…) screen with a building behind”.

1

What are those new design paradigms of our contemporary culture?

2

How do we shop instead? What is the new shape and image of city-based shopping centres?

3

As new attractors, are shopping centres the new public space? Can these complexes become a public space (streetscape)?

4

How do malls like massive depots can recuperate the sensorial features of an every-day market life?

5

How can a hybrid space for shopping be thought?


Boutique in a Shopping Mall, Beijing. Source: Suau (2011)


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

WHAT’S THE NEW TYPE? The new retail shopping has learnt from the effect of the information load. There are 2 key factors that rule shopping:

A. COMPLEXITY It refers to the number of different elements or features of a site, which can be the result of increased information diversity.

B. NOVELTY It involves the unexpected, surprising, odd, or unfamiliar aspects of the act of shopping. In the structure of new shopping malls the novelty dimension keeps customers exploring the stores, while the complexity dimension has the potential to induce impulse purchases through simulacrum or events.


3. The Phenomenon of the Fake Shopping Centre


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

“The solitude of architecture is the most important problem of our cities�. Manuel de Sola-Morales (2010)

Cities are distressed because architecture has abandoned them. The problem of nowadays architecture is that it seems detached from the city and from their collective responsibility. Large commerce needs to re-establish the spatial composition of cities based on morphological urban regenerations and relationships.


Frontage of L’Illa facing Diagonal Avenue, Barcelona (SP). Source: Bauza (2010)


L’Illa in Barcelona: web shopping . Source: L’Illa.


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

THE MALLS IN THE UK 1

UK shopping centres are based on pedestrian streets and resemble the arcade and it is generally owned and managed privately having control over not just the spaces within the shopping centre but also of a larger area beyond.

2

These artefacts act as “black holes� within the urban fabric where large amounts of people enter and disappear inside.

3

The consumer, once inside, is neither aware of the outside world, nor do they have any sense of orientation or of time.

4

Most UK cities have their own shopping centre in the city centre, sized to attract large numbers of regular and sporadic consumers in relation to the size of the host city.

5

Despite their relevance there is limited guidance about how this type of development should be designed, other than that given by the British Council for Shopping Centres


Interior of Cabot Circus, Bristol (UK). Source: Bauza (2010)


St David 2 in Cardiff: web shopping platform. Source: St David 2.


4. Urban Conditions & Case Studies


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

FOUR (4) URBAN CONDITIONS Cities are distressed because architecture has abandoned them. The problem of nowadays architecture is that it seems detached from the city and from their collective responsibility. Large commerce needs to re-establish the spatial composition of cities based on morphological urban regenerations and relationships:

1. 2. 3. 4.

Multidirectional Porosity Programmatic Articulation Scales Hybridity


Place-form in european malls. Source: Suau based on Google Earth’s satellite data.


COMPARATIVE PROGRAMMES Study of programmes in European malls. Source: authors.


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

PLACE-FORM OF 4 MALLS ALMERE MALL – ALMERE (NL)

500m

ST DAVID 2 – CARDIFF (UK)

500m

Source: authors based on Google Earth’s satellite data.

L’ILLA – BARCELONA (SP)

500m

CABOT CIRCUS – BRISTOL (UK)

500m


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

1.

Multidirectional Porosity Porosity allows people to move from one space to another by providing 100% cross-connectivity and accessibility with the immediate surroundings. The openings at the ground level and also in the facades can be read as penetrations perforating the total width of each building permitting us to augment daylight and vistas from both sides. These penetrations provide rhythm to the faรงade separating the outside from the inside, the public from the private. The ground floor should be continuous; moving from street to the city. Moreover as the underground area hosts the parking, this releases a significant amount of space at ground level giving more options to the designers to play with the volumes and their urban relationships. Therefore it helps to achieve high porosity for the pedestrian.


0m

250m

Almere Stad. The image on the top left shows the juxtaposition of uses and articulation of spaces. Image on the bottom shows the porosity between levels. Image on the right shows the scale of one space with the articulation. Source: the authors.


Original master plan (1994): Mixed-use model of housing, shops and parking; cross section and layout size of 300m x 300m. Sources: Monu magazine issue 7 & OMA online publications.


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

2.

Programmatic Articulation Programmatically all functions should be allocated in relation to its immediate context. All penetrations that are either accesses to the shopping centre should be allocated with a direct relationship to pre-existing street orders. Both the relative position of the uses and the accesses to the most public areas in each complex allows to articulate the buildings with the immediate and wider context. For instance, if we dissect any compact blocks in Barcelona, retail is always placed at the street level in-between parking and residential on the upper floors. The residential located above the retail units helps to define the character of the perimeter blocks above the underground shopping complex.


0m

250m

St David’s 2, Cardiff. Articulation between the existing arcades with St David’s 1. Source: authors


Main layout and outer view of St David II. Source: http://www.stdavids2.com.


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

3.

Scales The shopping mall scheme should explores how scale is a relevant parameter due to the number of existing urban conditions and forms. For example, penetrations should be designed in relation to different scales. They react to the scale of the pedestrian by being over-scaled, thus making a ‘grand gesture’, which clearly defines points of entry. This gesticulation can contrast to conventional accesses in other buildings, where openings are filled with doors of a standard human scale. Thus the game of forms creates a well-balanced ‘place-formation’ that clearly amalgams the streetscape.


0m

250m

L’Illa and the urban context. The inner hall articulates the outer and inners scales. The red dashed line refers to the penetration from Avinguda Diagonal. Source: the authors


Left side: Inner and street views of the complex. Right side: commercial floors with main services. Sources: http://www.lilla.com


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

4.

Hybridity The shopping mall scheme is a celebration of complexities, diversity and variety of programmes. These hybrid buildings look for unexpected, unpredictable, intimate relationships. The hybridization is permeable and accessible from the city. It can be pursued in developments aiming for identity in an established urban context. It is an attractor and is an actor in a starring role on the urban stage. This amalgamation of inhabitants enriches the place if the programme has been well handled. It also includes different managements and ownerships.


5. Finale


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

CONCLUSIONS 1

Nowadays shopping centres in the city centre seek to blend with the context without losing the main purpose of being a place for commodities and commerce.

2

This type of shopping centre is embedded as part of a larger development and the shopping centre cannot be isolated from the rest.

3

The development includes a great variety of uses that help to break with the idea of the autistic box imposed on a site. On the contrary, they use a great variety of tactics to contextualize the development making place. As a consequence, these developments move from the pure notion of hybrid buildings to hybrid areas.


Fakescape THE MALL IN as THE Non-Urbanism: ONLINE SHOPPING The Illusion ERAof Placeness in Shopping Malls SUAU,C. Suau, C.&&Munar, MUNAR, M.M.

CONCLUSIONS 1

The programme, in some cases more than others, has helped to achieve high levels of porosity, multiple articulations, simultaneity of scales and a certain degree of hybridity in terms of management and ownership.

2

The UK cases have the peculiarity of being developments forming part of city centres that entailed refurbishment of a larger area than the development area itself. Therefore the public realm of a vast area of the city centre is consistent in terms of materials and execution with the worrying potential to create seamless centres with no need to reflect upon articulation of different parts. Porosity within the development is appropriate but the porosity between the inside and outside is low.

3

The “Otherness� in the sense of multifaceted reading is defined by the sense of urbanity measuring the complexity of a place where the formal aspects will help with this evaluation.


The mall and e-commerce