Shopping is the dominant social experience in urban environments. The spaces of shopping are the single largest shared collective spaces in cities. However shopping is in a period of major transition. The recent shifts in shopping trends project that e-commerce will rapidly take over physical retail. As a result shopping, as we know it now can no longer be the motor for activating urban space and traditional retail needs to radically transform.
This thesis is interested in the impending scenario where shopping moves entirely beyond the transaction and no longer involves the exchange of physical goods. This is a scenario, in which the spaces of shopping are no longer as we understand them now, and we begin to question; what happens to urbanism when its primary shared social space is radically transformed?
This is a fiction where the spaces of shopping have become liberated from buying and selling and transitioned into commodifying social programs. As a result brands are shifting from products to experiences as they are evolving from a distribution space to a collective place. The project is simultaneously utopic and dystopic; in a paradox as capitalism is relentlessly reinventing new forms of material and experiential consumption, ultimately imposing the brandscape onto all forms of public life. However, this shift from product to experience will become one of the greatest opportunities for architects to partake in the re-invention of the spaces of shopping as an unprecedented amount of the most valuable spaces in the city, await a new meaning.
In order to re-imagine shopping, the project uses 3 archetypal apparel brands as a medium for exploring the broader problem that I have been looking at this thesis.
On this ubiquitous shopping street stands at a generic urban center occupying a block of 140 meters wide and 30 meters deep. The series of three branded spaces are separated by a parti-wall and connected by the sidewalk illustrating a new congestion of cultural behaviors in the city. The plan and section show a collage of functions that describe the synthetic and highly suggestive experiences in the block.
The project is a medium of exploring the scenario in more detail, representing the complete conquest of the delirium of shopping. This alternative reality plays out one potential scenario of the delirium of shopping. Despite their innate narcissism, each individual space generates a new territory for intervention of fashion and branding into the political scene, social space and public sector.