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WA/SA [waldrip architects/ s.a.] [architecture- los angeles]

Alberti, Sandro Made-to-Order; 8 March, 2003 [text30]

Working 9-5, at...

‘WA/SA’, ‘Aloha8’, and ‘Working 9 to 5, at...’

are fictions of fen-om: [www.fen-om.com]

Dead Malls, a most-popular LA competition, has come to a close this weekend, with a final exhibit of the 21 finalist projects (5 winning entries), as well as a handful of essays on the topic. Some interesting

ideas to be found in some of those writings, although, lamentably, most simply ‘ramble on’. Alan Loomis focuses on The Grove, one of the latest-hottest malls in the Los Angeles region, a paradigm from which to salvage production ‘Dead Malls’. and political establishments within the mall, as well as ‘sustainable economy’. Also interesting in this essay, but not fully developed, is the (re)visit of the Farmers Market (Grove neighbor and prototype of the ‘mall island’, but with a twist). Something for a future essay, perhaps. Michael Bohn travels to CityPlace in Long Beach, from which he derives some interesting recipes for mall design, keeping his main suggestions within the realm of the popular ‘shopping + housing’ utopia. Most of Bohn’s conclusions are logical, although some, like the complete concealment of parking structures (as opposed to their reevaluation/ restructuring) falls back on traditionalist rhetoric. Finally, the Florian’s Company tongue-in-cheek ‘spoof’ on mall creation nearly loses any analysis within a flood of metaphoric sarcasm (extraction of some general rules of mall design, which I have done below, does not in itself yield truly enlightening info, but readies the facts for more interesting analysis than the mere display of fictionwriting prowess). The full essays + more are available at the LA Forum’s Web site [www.laforum.org].

Loomis, Alan; The Once and Future Mall … As the penultimate evolution of the mall, The Grove is neither innovative nor particularly imaginative. The dilemma… [is a] failure to expand the mall’s range of typological or urban performance… [It] reinforces entertainment retail as the only legitimate activity for creating urban places,… to the exclusion of production (the workplace) and living (housing), and at the expense of a sustainable urban economy founded in a physical form that balances land uses with transit needs… [It divorces from] productive, domestic, or civic/ political life…([let us remember that] Gruen viewed the shopping mall as the suburbs’ social center, and the inclusion of local culture and political establishments was integral to his early mall formulas)… The congested popularity of The Grove and its architectural and decorative symbolism

Mini-Mall.

The Grove.

Parking lot.


ideal location for a Mega-Mall.

gives it the appearance of a vibrant, rich urban place- yet it is ultimately a place where urban life is rendered in one dimension, reduced to consumption only… The Grove is hidden from Pan Pacific Park by its impressive parking garage, and presents a blank wall to the real public face of Third Street… [In alternatives to The Grove’s model,] storefronts face the sidewalk and the airspace above the stores is occupied by housing… They are part of broader strategies to increase the residential density of traditional offices/ commercial cores, with an aim towards creating the proverbial 24/7 city… [They include typical] stores,… [but] are constructed in an architectural form that responds to the city’s present social dilemmas, [and are] adaptable to incremental change (where storefront tenants reflect the evolving nature of the city’s street life)… Bohn, Michael ; The Good, the Bad, and the Monotony … Without alleys, service access for retail buildings is forced to front public streets,… killing pedestrian interest along the sidewalk and creating a terrible first impression for [visitors]… [It is good to] conceal [parking] structures from the sidewalk and street… (garages behind ground floor retail)… Exposing parking structures deters a sense of urban vitality and safety for pedestrians… Blank big box walls [are also bad]… (Turning vitality away [from the street])… Buildings of assorted widths and heights create a variety of scale along the street edge… A lack of diversity in finish materials [creates architectural behemoths]… Successful buildings are clad in smooth trowel plaster, glass, and metal siding, accented with wood and metal… Humanscaled materials… should [be] sparingly used at retail entries. The use of various signage… is an improvement to the common generic Plexiglass box signs… Paint [can]… also [be] carefully utilized… The conventional method to locating openings, particularly those in wood-frame construction, is to stack them,… [but, where possible, openings should be] staggered and varied to increase the sense of diversity… Accented corner conditions [are a particular]… opportunity to vary the appearance of buildings… [A] continuous repetition of style [can separate shopping malls from] the rest of [a community]… [The simple-minded repetition of] single-loaded stacked flats [ignores variety and density. Lofts,]… particularly at the street level, can accommodate live/ work opportunities with the potential for groundfloor retail… Other housing typologies, such as town homes and courtyard housing, should [be] integrated… to entice a variety of urban dwellers…

Light.


The Florian Company; Design Criteria for Shopping Malls Design criteria: Mini-mall= 0-2 mile radius of service area (0-10 minutes); 25,000 to 75,000 square feet (2500 to 40,000 shoppers) Maxi-mall= 2-5 mile radius of service area (10-30 minutes); 25,000 to 75,000 square feet (2500 to 40,000 shoppers) Mega-mall= 5-10+ mile radius of service area (30-60+ minutes); 25,000 to 75,000 square feet (2500 to 40,000 shoppers) Locate the shopping malls at intersections: the Mini-Mall at an intersection of 2 local roads [40-footwide], minimum; the Maxi-Mall at the intersection of 2 collector roads [80-foot-wide], minimum; and the Mega-Mall at the intersection of 2 arteries [120-foot-wide], minimum. Special consideration should be given to intersections with freeways, especially when siting Mega-Malls. Maintain a 25-foot setback to the parking lot from the street, provide walks from street corners into the shopping malls, [increase setbacks to 30 feet at entries, and 60 to 75 feet at artery and collector corners]‌ Provide a 100 to 120-foot entry drive, provide a walk on at least one side of all entry drives, screen views of trash enclosures + utility boxes + drainage structures + employee rest areas, [provide planters throughout the parking lot]... When using trees in front of retail spaces, be sure that the tree canopy is above the sign band. Illumination of a shopping mall should be strong but hidden (a perpetual daylight confuses the sense of time, keeping shoppers in the shopping mall environment or longer periods)‌

Made to Order  

The death and possible rebirth of malls, in various essays.

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