We’ve seen a progressive crisis of space emerge over the last 10 years around retail space in the city; this has very suddenly become a crisis of all types of commercial space during the current pandemic. As businesses and institutions across the world re think how we work, play, shop, eat, use our collective environment and brace themselves for potentially long term changes and adoption of new working and lifestyle methods, wherein our homes have become our offices, our schools, our gyms, we find our cities in a state of surplus commercial space. This commercial SURPLUS is paralleled with a LACK of domestic space if our future homes are to multi-task for so much of our activity. Firstly, we don’t think this is sustainable or great. The sharing of ideas (like friction) need a shared space, so we hope this won’t last, but in the interim, there are some lessons to be learned for us as designers. Many people across the world will, in some capacity,
choose to continue to work from home part time in the coming years. We see this surplus as a question to be considered, discussed and debated. What future programs might our cities accommodate and how might we re-imagine the live-work environment of the future.
Incarnating the void.
Reflections on designing the large negative space, the “void” of the mega shopping mall. The new urban and civic spaces of future cities.
As emerging global megacities become the laboratories of urban future, the rise of emerging supra-urban conditions dramatically change in the definition of public space beyond the traditional civic spaces.
The interior, as a new urban condition, appears in many forms with the ever-increasing footprints and networks of and between Mall at the centre of the transformation. Either through growing networks of interconnected buildings like Toronto’s PATH System or enlarged architecture like Chengdu’s 1.9 million sq.m. Global Centre, the commercial space designs cities but its architecture remains largely unquestioned.
Bangkok offers a network of elevated pathways that from the original linkage offered by the public overground as evolved by constant addition of floating routes towards malls and in between them. Commerce replaces the state as when one cannot continue in public networks, mall links are the only alternative to the busy street below. The expansion on interiority is as much an answer to climate as it is to the urban fabric. The Thai capital suffers from the absence of street thus creating an extraordinary collision of minimal street space for traffic and over density which is compensated by enlarged buildings; A city of mega buildings.