Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Daily Mall Reader: Mall Makeovers

A daily dose of mall-related reading...

At Malls, the Trends of Change

Washington Post - Friday, November 29, 1996

(Excerpt) When they first walked into Montgomery Mall in 1989, architects saw a worn, dark, 22-year-old building, as fixed in time as a hippie wearing bell-bottoms.

Drywall, cheap and bland, was all around. The floor was laid with dark paving tiles. The high ceilings receded into blackness at night. Everywhere was dark oak -- benches, handrails, trim -- the color of oak one might associate with a turn-of-the-century schoolhouse or an old town hall.

Two years later, after the architects from RTKL in Baltimore were done, high-buff marble floors shone underfoot. Glittering brass handrails picked up the shimmer. There was glass everywhere. Lights were thrown up to the ceiling at night, emphasizing, rather than trying to hide, the spacious interior.

Like movie stars trying to keep their youthful looks, Montgomery Mall had gotten a face lift, a change in architecture inside and out. These make-overs usually happen about once a decade.

Read the full article here.


Blogger Cora said...

The sad thing is, I'm sure I would have preferred all the malls described with their old murky dark brown interior than with the new sparkling marble and brass look. Or those fake townhouse facades.

And I definitely think that malls, particularly those that still have the vintage look, should be preserved. But the US isn't great about preserving historical architecture anyway, unless it's a Civil War fort or something like that. And preserving commercial architecture is always a problem anyway, because the companies owning/leasing the premises always claim that they have to innovate to stay current. Though personally I would like going shopping in a time-warp and I can't be the only one.

Wed Mar 07, 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Sobieniak said...

You should see what they've done to the Westgate Village Shopping Center down here in Toledo. Already I'm pissed a little with he newbie buildings they had to stick up.

Wed Mar 07, 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Funky-Rat (a/k/a Railyn) said...

Tyson's Corner Center (a/k/a Tyson's I) is a really beautiful mall, and a definate favorite. While it is very modern in it's interior, it works, and the variety of stores makes up for any over-the-top modern design.

Tyson's II is way too upscale for my taste, but the interior is gorgeous. I'm not a fan, however, of the new exterior. We recently stayed in a hotel across the street from it and got to view it extensively through our window, and the fakey street storefront thing is too cutesy, and really doesn't accomplish what I think they want to accomplish. It still screams high-end snooty shopping.

Unfortunately, the Lehigh Valley Mall and Harrisburg Mall are slated to adopt the fake-street-of-high-end-stores mentality too.

Thu Mar 08, 06:26:00 PM  
Anonymous didi said...

I agree with Cora. I would definately prefer shopping in a time warp then shopping in crappy pastel colors and a lighter more "modern" look. What people don't get is is that the groovyness of the 50s, 60s and 70s is MODERN!

Even in Chicago, with it's history of architecture has a crappy way of preserving it at times. Most well known works don't get touched it's the obscure ones that may suffer. I was reading in the paper the other day about some art deco building downtown that a developer wants to replace with condos. The landmark people approved the removing of the facade, the demolishing of the orginal structure only to put the beautiful facade on a new cheap Home Depot bricked building. WTF? How is that preserving the landmark if the essentialness of the orginal is gone?

Sat Mar 10, 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

I just saw a report on TV that the building in which Robert Kennedy was shot, a luxury hotel from the 1920s rich with history, was torn down to make room for hell knows what. If any building was worth preserving, both from an architectural and historical point of view, it was that one.

Not that Germany is that much better. In Heiligendamm, a resort on the Baltic Sea, a couple of 19th century beachfront villas were torn down to make room for the security forces at the upcoming G8 summit. In Berlin, the Palace of the Republic, one of the few examples of Socialist prestige architecture and full of 1970s swankiness besides, was torn down to make room for a reconstruction of a classicist palace, which may never be built for budget reasons. And in my own hometown of Bremen, a department store building with a fully intact 1970s facade is being razed, because it's considered "outmoded and ugly".

Sat Mar 10, 09:25:00 PM  

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