Shopping malls are not only retail environments for us; they are also a type of public space that obsessed by crowd, not by their architecture, but the activities. The public space quality or the publicness of shopping mall is a critical issue, and even the intended to achieve urbanity for a enclosed shopping mall.
After centuries, the enclosed shopping mall separated urbanity and shopping activities from each other. These fully-enclosed and environmentally controlled consumption spaces re-interpreted the urban fabric to simulate a city image and a street-like atmosphere indoors. Inside the walls of a "new city" was created, where people shop, eat, entertain and interact.
In the recent architecture sharing session with my fellow architecture friends on topic of malls architecture and trend, it's reminded me on my 3rd year Studio projects (10 years ago), task given to design a shopping mall in a historical town Ipoh. This island site is literally rectangular in size, and surrounded by three storey colonial shop houses. The challenge of the task was creating an "iconic" mall within historical site.
The strategies of integrating shopping activities and adjacent urban fabric in this historical town became key principle of the scheme. Open space and sustainable design for the shopping mall became more important to be emphasized. To further enhance the street mall experience, indoor street mall with high volumn atrium linking to adjacent historical street trying to blend the shopping street experience inside-out and vice versa.
Huge iconic glass canopy creating a transparency of the indoor activities with outside street scenery. Staggered decking of the café spaces, with lush greenery intended to have a very intimacy experience of street experience within this historical context. So, the visitors of the shopping mall could sense a city street atmosphere while they are shopping indoor. This regeneration strategies, which trying to create a shopping mall spaces that can be functional, managerial, structural and architecturally robust.