Related Staff : Jonathan Solomon
Studio Instructor: Jonathan Solomon
This Joint Studio with Yale and Tongji Universities focuses on the design of a transit-oriented shopping development on Siping Road in northeastern Shanghai. Rejecting both the enclave urbanism that has characterized recent shopping malls on Nanjing Road and elsewhere in Shanghai, including the faux-historicist approach of developments such as Xin Tian Di and the megablocks on Najing Road, we will work instead on creating Open Urban Armature that transcends site boundaries. Our study includes a comprehensive urban design proposal for the area as a strategy for situating architecture within the complex parameters of its context. We review both generic shopping mall types and specific cases that successfully establish open pedestrian networks between multiples sites and conditions in the city, and apply these strategies to the conflicts between development, sustainability, and civic enrichment that perpetuate in contemporary Shanghai. Shopping; a program which has been described variously in contemporary urban theory alternately as a pernicious virus of global consumer capitalism to which cities are the unwitting host, and as an emerging source of exciting new urban forms, is both the theme and the problem of this studio. Shopping can be a powerful tool for encouraging movement and flow in cities and for breaking down the social and spatial hierarchies that enclaves establish. It can also be an equally powerful tool for subverting local culture with a global generic, for displacing activism with consumerism, and for establishing and perpetuating social and spatial hierarchies. The goal of this studio is to explore how shopping complicates the contemporary city, and to use shopping as a source for critical design experimentation that comments intelligently on the future of the city as place of open public exchange and interaction.