Though no standard recipe covers every shopping center renovation, many projects can benefit by adopting the following prescriptions:
Parking lot landscaping should be redesigned to enhance and direct the viewer's attention to the ground level entry activity of the shops. Shrubbery, plantings and earth mounds are appropriate if curb-side visibility provides unobstructed access and ease of navigation to the shop's entrance and facade.
Adding protected, colonnaded walkways (which allow pedestrian strolling, uninterrupted by vehicular traffic of all the center's shops) is a justifiable determinant to reconfiguring and adjusting parking lot areas while being mindful of existing trees. Adequate widths in front of shops to accommodate the walkways can be subtracted from the parking lot areas.
Outdoor patio seating with tables and canopies is a key
ingredient in establishing a community mix of restaurants,
sidewalk cafes, farmer's produce and fish markets, bakeries,
book and music stores and fashion boutiques to blend well
together in a open-air environs.
Pedestrian access from off-site should be promoted
with speed bumps, signage and crosswalks. One-way, directed
vehicular traffic in the parking areas should be evaluated.
Architectural and Design trends
The particular styles of architectural theme in vogue from attracting people to shopping malls trend toward 'out-of-the-box' of irregular, undulating but harmonious and well-thought out details in curving forms and shapes in waves of surface, color and texture. Grid-like boxy designs are 'out'. The new enlivened spaces require a greater architectural talent given to working out details (of designs which meet at odd angles) which left to non-design professionals would be revealed by the building's unsightly awkwardness and sense of incompleteness. Applying the Golden Mean to solving the unique scale and proportion issues of each different project creates noticeable-enough originality in the rococo genre to successfully thwart any challenge of intellectual property copyright infringement.
Golden Section - An Overview
Geometry of phi and the golden section
Phi and Mathematics
A History of the Golden Mean/Section/Ratio, Divine Proportion and Phi
Businesses and companies are opting to create environments which are comfortable, open, flexible and untraditional. Ralphs Markets in Southern California have branded their own look (with intellectual property protections) which steals (borrows) from Roman-Italianate rococo revivalist architectural style but adequately resolves building details. Antonio Gaudi, the Spanish architect with visionary genius (who drew from previous baroque and rococo movements) made use of curves within contexts of naturalistic exuberance in his building's decorations. The legendary application of Gaudi's techniques serve to inspire and shape current design directions.
Gaudi's Works (list of links to photos)
Temple de la Sagrada Familia
Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
Precedents from the Baroque and Rococo Eras
The Baroque Era (angels photo) "Some of the qualities most frequently associated with the Baroque are grandeur, sensuous richness, drama, vitality, movement, tension, emotional exuberance, and a tendency to blur distinctions between the various arts."
Baroque and Rococo Architecture (no photo) "A Renaissance building was to be seen equally from all sides, while a Baroque building had a main axis or viewpoint as well as subsidiary viewpoints. Attention was focused on the entrance axis or on the central pavilion, and its symmetry was emphasized by the central culmination. A Baroque building expanded in its effect to include the square facing it, and often the ensemble included all the buildings on the square as well as the approaching streets and the surrounding landscape. Baroque buildings dominated their environment; Renaissance buildings separated themselves from it."
Bernini (photo) "Bernini's third church, Sant'Andrea al Quirinale (1658-1670) in Rome, is his greatest. The church was constructed on an oval plan with an ovoid porch extending beyond the facade, echoing the interior rhythms of the building. The interior, decorated with dark, multicolored marble, has a dramatic oval dome of white and gold."
Triumphs of the Baroque: Architecture in Europe, 1600-1750 - Montreal Museum of Fine Arts - Absolutearts.com (no photo) "The flourishing of grand public building projects (hospitals, town halls, theatres and fountains), along with spectacular fireworks displays and opulent funerals, reflected the undisguised intent of the political authority to flaunt its munificence and efforts to meet the public's needs. The urban fabric was often woven around these enormous constructions, which determined the layout of squares, avenues and prospects, and were based on an essentially ceremonial perception of space."
18th-Century France: The Rococo and Watteau (painting photos) "France turned away from imperial aspirations to focus on more personal -- and pleasurable -- pursuits. As political life and private morals relaxed, the change was mirrored by a new style in art, one that was intimate, decorative, and often erotic."
18th-Century France: The Rococo and Watteau (no photo) "This new style has been known since the last century as "rococo," from the French word, rocaille, for rock and shell garden ornamentation. First emerging in the decorative arts, the rococo emphasized pastel colors, sinuous curves, and patterns based on flowers, vines, and shells. Painters turned from grandiloquence to the sensual surface delights of color and light, and from weighty religious and historical subjects -- though these were never ignored completely -- to more intimate mythological scenes, views of daily life, and portraiture."
Art Periods in France: ROCOCO STYLE (no photo) "The essence of rococo interior decoration is twofold; first, the forms are almost flat instead of being, as in baroque schemes, in high relief; second, architectural and sculptural features are eliminated so that the designer is confronted with a smooth surface, interrupted only by the window recesses and the chimneypiece."
French Art & Architecture - Renaissance & Baroque (no photo) "The leading architect of the latter half of the 17th century was Jules Hardouin-Mansart, who designed parts of the palace of Versailles, the Orangerie, and numerous squares and public buildings in Paris."
Some recent shopping center examples
Oakbrook Center Expansion - Oak Brook, Illinois (photo - jack-in-the-box deluxe)
Short Pump Town Center - Richmond, VA
Mall of Georgia - Buford, GA
Plaza Tobalaba - Santiago, Chile