A Pictorial Blog of Things I Make,
Items I Collect, Architecture I Love,
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Monday, May 23, 2011

More Mall Post Cards: Stairs and Balconies

Beckoning to mind the nutty interiors Piranesi etched in the 18th century, this view of Woodfield Mall's Grand Court dates from around 1971, when this suburban mega-souk opened. Located in Schaumburg, Ill., Woodfield is the largest mall in the Chicago area and the fifth largest in the nation.

A 1967 view of the Garden Court at Southdale Center, Minneapolis. Opened in 1956, Southdale was the first fully-enclosed, climate-controlled mall in the nation.

Another 1970s view of the Garden Court at Southdale, Minneapolis. Though he despised the mushrooming suburban lifestyle embraced by middle-class Americans in the 1950s, Victor Gruen, Austiran-born architect of Southdale, strove to give evacuees from the big, bad city a sense of community through the enclosed mall, and modeled Southdale on European pedestrian arcades like Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II in Milan. Because Southdale itself was emulated--and ardently so--Gruen has been called the most influential architect in America during the 20th century.

This is a view of Southdale nowadays. Gone are most of Gruen's details: mid-cen art, wood trim, inventive lighting and plantings, and pacifying fountains--and, I might add, any sense of warmth.

Built in 1890 and designed by Stephen V. Harkness, the Arcade in Cleveland was one of the country's first enclosed malls--and like Southdale, modeled on the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This image dates from the 1960s.

This is the Cleveland Arcade today. In 2001 Hyatt appropriated the top three floors for hotel rooms. The two lower floors still feature retail outfits as well as a food court.

The Lloyd Center in Portland, Ore., opened August 1, 1960, with a 100-store, open-air configuration. This view dates from around 1963.

This postcard shows original interior details of Crossroads, which opened in 1970.

Another view of Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Ill. Singer Carol Lawrence and Vincent Price cut the ribbon when it opened in 1970.

When it opened in 1967, the Gazebo Court at Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Mass., featured subtropical plantings and waterfalls. In 2004, the mall implemented a teen escort policy, requiring that anyone under the age of 15 be accompanied by a guardian after 5 p.m. Bummer!

 Another view of Southdale in Minneapolis. The description on the back of this 1960s post card reads: "A touch of the Old Word amidst modern architecture"--just what Victor Gruen intended.

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