World of Malls: Architectures of Consumption

14 Jul 2016 – 16 Oct 2016

Pinakothek der Moderne

Munich, Germany


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This exhibition examines a building style that came into being less than sixty years ago, quickly spread throughout the world, but which now faces something of an existential crisis.


Many of these buildings now stand empty and are having to be converted to fulfil completely different functions, yet at the same time plans are announced in America, Asia, the UAE, and Europe for a whole swathe of spectacular new malls. What then does the future hold for this type of building, which emerged in the USA during the 1950s with the shopping malls designed by the Austrian architect Victor Gruen, and which today has for many people come to represent the defining space of their urban experiences? Few types of structures divide opinions to quite the same extent. Does the shopping mall spell the death of towns and cities, as many critics claim, or are they in fact an integral part of the urban regeneration so enthusiastically promised by politicians? Though derided as worthless anti-architecture in intellectual circles, this has not discouraged the large number of architectural practices who continue to be involved in their design. The shopping mall and its future incarnations, it seems, will be a feature of our lives for some time to come.


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