Fairlane Town Center
"Fairlane Town Center, a Taubman prototype suburban subcenter."
Following up on Saturday's Woodfield Mall entry, I'm featuring yet another Taubman shopping center today (though I have blogged about it one other time), Fairlane Town Center mall in Dearborn, Michigan. I wish to extend a really big thanks to reader, Troy Donovan, for submitting these wonderful photographs and accompanying text, from a late '70s Fairlane brochure. Thanks again, Troy, I really appreciate it!
The first photo above, was on the cover of the brochure, the rest, with their corresponding captions, now follow:
"The center consists of 1.4 million square feet of gross leasable area, including a 595,000 square-foot, three-level enclosed mall and three department stores, J.L. Hudson Company, Sears Roebuck and Company, and J.C. Penney. These anchor tenants account for slightly more than half of the total leasable space. A fourth anchor, Lord and Taylor, will be under construction by early 1977. The development plan calls for two additional anchor tenants, which will increase the gross leaseable area at Fairlane Town Center to more than 1.5 million square feet. These additional components should be complete and occupied by 1980."
"New 'Octa-Lift' elevator design prides a distinctive and modern touch to the center."
"The automated transit system is the most innovative feature of Fairlane, as it represents perhaps the first time that a regional center has been designed for other than automobile and pedestrian access. The initial half-mile segment of the looped system, which connects Fairlane with the Dearborn Hyatt Regency Hotel, started operating in early 1976. The facility consists of an elevated guideway resting on concrete columns and running between a joint station within the shopping mall and one adjoining the hotel lobby.
The automated system, with its two bidirectional vehicles, is programmed to operate under peak load conditions of 1,800 persons per hour. Each electrically powered, computer-controlled vehicle is designed to accomodate 24 passengers and cruise at 25 miles per hour. A 500-foot bypass lane near the midpoint of the system allows vehicles traveling in opposite directions to pass each other. The ACT was developed by the Ford Motor Company as a prototype urban transit system.
Original plans to extend the system to Ford International Headquarters were eliminated because of the expense and because of difficulties associated with a freeway crossing. Nevertheless, even in its modified form, the looped system has the potential of becoming an important means of access to the shopping center for the Town Center's working population, once the line is completed and the peripheral parcels are fully developed. Meanwhile, the system functions as a tourist attraction and runs at full capacity most of the day."
"The distinctive interior feature of most very large shopping centers is a series of expansive open courts, and Fairlane, with 138,00 square feet of common area, is no exception. The internal pedestrian network consists of upper and lower modified X systems superimposed over one another and a more limited middle level centering on the ACT station. Because of the design constraints imposed by the people-mover, incorporated into the center as part of the agreement between the Taubman Company and the Ford Motor Land Development Company, there are twin interior courts rather than a single grand court at the intersection of the mall axes. The south central court was designed as an activity center, with a stage and seating areas, and the north central court was designed as the location of a large terraced fountain, which provides an attractive community focal point.
Additional courts, each highlighted by a contemporary sculpture of grand scale and designed on the basis of 30, 60, and 90-degree angles on a horizontal plan, were created at the apexes of the grand court locations. This design forshortens visual distances within the mall interior, maximizes the exposure of mall stores, diminishes walking distances required to visit all stores, and creates changing vistas of excitement and interest for shoppers. Aesthetically, the interior is a contemporary urban enviornment rendered distinctive by terrazzo floors, white ceilings articulated with geometrically shaped skylights, and white walls which contrast dramatically with the colorful storefronts.
Access among the three retail levels is provided by stairs, ramps, escalators, and twin elevators flanking the ACT station. These, together with seven carefully placed entrances and exits, permit ready movement between levels and minimize the amount of 'dead' space. Everything possible was done to make the store locations attractive to potential tenants. One way was to angle the mall facades to create a high frontage-to-depth ratio, thereby heightening the visual impact of individual stores.
The resulting pedestrian streetscape consists of irregular storefronts, each unique but coordinated within a design and operational framework established by the developer. Some tenants have preferred an open and casual facade, while others have chose a closed, formal appearance, depending on the tenants merchandising philosophy and anticipated pedestrian traffic. This mix of store facades appears to be characteristic of most recent centers, and there is no apparent marketing advantage in either approach, other considerations being equal.
The mall areas are lighted by an unusual system which uses the skylights as the primary light source during the daytime and lighting fixtures in the evening hours. Illumination requirements for the mall area are weighted in such a way that a large percentage of light is emitted from stores and storefronts. It is thought that this system has reduced lighting system demands at Fairlane Town Center to one of the lowest levels ever achieved in a regional center. Natural daylight reduces energy requirements in the daytime and makes the displays of merchandise more attractive."
Mall history: 1976 - present
Developer: A. Alfred Taubman
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Info from Wikipedia
Previous entries: 1