February 20, 2012

Since we blame Frank Lloyd Wright for the face of post war suburbia can we likewise blame Michael Graves for the post modern “Popitecture” that makes up most of American streetscapes?  Probably, although in the case of Wright the label may not be deserved.  Either way, to shopping center developers a building must function first and foremost as a billboard.  If they could manage it, they would convert all shopping centers into big TV sets to get better exposure.  This, by the way, is actually happening.  Consider TLC’s “Extreme Couponing.”

Interestingly, the strategy may no longer be working.  We see miles of vacant real estate that may be a result of more than just a bad economy.  Maybe shoppers are longing for an experience that can only be provided by the organic interaction of individual architects with a real world shopping experience.

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