Death and Shopping

Christian Nakarado Lead Tutor   |   Juliet Sakyi-Ansah Visiting Tutor   |   Rebecca Walker Tech Tutor

From the Greek Agora and Roman Forum, to the Medieval Square and Renaissance Piazza, to the covered markets of early industrialisation and the shopping centres of the 20th century, the marketplace has always generated architecture that defines the urban public. Often located adjacent to significant religious, political, and transportation centres, these places of exchange provide a flexible framework for communities to gather, for people to interact, and for a concept of local civic identity to emerge. For better or for worse, shopping malls and commercial developments today are often the most intensively visited sites in most cities and towns. In many, they are the only public spaces where a broad cross-section of the population comes together as something resembling a community.

Members of the Death and Shopping studio are asked to design a piece of commercial real estate (typically thought of as retail and office space, although each project may depart from this trajectory) that engages critically with its context in Digbeth and is explicitly designed to address the problems of permanence, impermanence, and sustainability in architecture that make up the conceptual framework for the unit. Ultimately each project should create either a lasting or an ephemeral structure that reduces the incredible waste associated with the high turnover of commercial real estate, yet still fulfils its basic functional goals, and creates a sense of community and a clear vision and definition of the public. Critiques of conventional contemporary shopping and work spaces are welcomed.

The Parkside Building
5 Cardigan Street
Birmingham B4 7BD UK
+44 (0)121 331 5000
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