January 9, 2009
The final presentation of Architecture & Market took place on January 9 at the AAS in Tilburg. The book “Shopping is Good” collects all the research, projects, and essays from the course.
Special thanks to Anton Wubben for his presentation at MVRD, and to Floris Alkemade for his valuable criticism and lecture on Shopping and the City on December 12 at the Academy.
Tilburg Academie voor Architectuur en Stedenbouw
Architectuur en Markt v.2 – Architecture & Market v.2: Shopping is Good
Research and Design Course
Master of Architecture
Tilburg, the Netherlands
November 7, 2008 – January 9, 2009
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Beatriz Ramo taught the second edition of the studio: Architecture and Market. This edition is a combination of research and design around Shopping in order to design new mass-shopping typologies for city centres. These typologies will be understood as prototypes that could be implemented in every European City. The typologies should have a strong conceptual base. Rotterdam will be our case study for placing prototypes, creating coherent and continuous shopping activity from North to South.
There is still one function that can survive successfully without the touch of the almighty superstar architect in today’s world of icons: shopping. While the exclusive boutiques capitulated years ago to the power of uniqueness, the mall, the “shopping centre for the masses”, has resisted that temptation victoriously. It has even left architecture behind. However, these places are always full of people. They feel good there. The mall is safe, clean, and air-conditioned. Is this sufficient to create successful and intense urban activity?
Initially, shopping appeared wherever there was urban life. Today, urban life appears wherever there is shopping, within or outside the city. The grandeur of the Agora, the perfection of the Marketplace, and the charm of the Arcade has degenerated into a container decorated with a misunderstanding of architectonic styles. Nevertheless, architecture should find its way to welcome mass-shopping back into the city centre. Ikea, the suburban big box par excellence, has started reversing this exodus and opened its first store in a city centre last December in Coventry, UK. It came with a city café at street level and extensive glazing, making it as transparent as possible. A month after the opening Ikea started planning the next store in a city centre in Southampton, UK.
How can we maintain the positive aspects of the suburban mall in City Centres? Which functions could we combine in it? Can we turn this enclosed activity into a city urban link? How can we turn this marriage of convenience between City and Shopping into a love story?
This course is not a rejection of the mall, but an exploration of new formats. It will be a combination of research and design. Accepting the importance of shopping for city life, the research will provide us with the knowledge to design new prototypes of large-scale shopping for the inner city.
In Europe, where extreme weather conditions don’t exist, shopping can be more than an enclosed activity. It can work as a generator of urban activity for the city.
Rotterdam displays an extreme case of shopping. Public activity is pretty much framed by commercial hours. Urban life extinguishes every day after 18.00 and starts the next day at 10.00.
Dennis van de Rijdt
Maarten van Vroonhoven
>>Other editions of this studio deal with the Iconic Building phenomena (first edition) and with the need of reinventing the model of International Exhibitions, taking Rotterdam as case study (third edition).