If you want to learn about the life of Victor Gruen, this is it The author seems to have put a lot of work into making this book Lots of good pictures to go with vivid descriptions of the storefront and mall designs. I heard the author on the radio and thought this sounded interesting, it was definitely worth it I m an architect and have worked on a few retail projects, although no malls yet, so I could easily identify with Gruen He seemed both to be a naive dreamer and a very calculating businessman He was also caught up in the American cycle of trying to make one buck Gruen s story made me rethink the reasons why Americans love shopping so much all the lights, art, and designs do nothing but make us believe that shopping is enjoyable Is it really Gruen s story also made me think about why architects think they can solve the world s problems with better buildings I guess it goes with the territory. Awesome book and great insight on the history and the design of malls I am very happy to have this book in my collection. There are only two things to say about this book on Gruen the Mall Maker 1 The writing must be overlooked, and 2 the substance of the book is crucial to understanding American cities and American culture as we know it today It made me want to read about architecture, city planning and economic trends as market forces redesigning neighborhoods, towns, cities and, ultimately, our country It made me want to go back to school and get a degree in Urban Planning It made me want to petition the school board to include the study of commerical design and the rise of malls in every high school American history class It made me want to recommend it to all of my friends who live in cities, love cities, love their malls, live near malls and who shop at malls The subject matter fascinated me the writing not so much so. The shopping mall is both the most visible and the most contentious symbol of American prosperity Despite their convenience, malls are routinely criticized for representing much that is wrong in America sprawl, conspicuous consumption, the loss of regional character, and the decline of Mom and Pop stores So ubiquitous are malls that most people would be suprised to learn that they are the brainchild of a single person, architect Victor Gruen An immigrant from Austria who fled the Nazis in 1938, Gruen based his idea for the mall on an idealized America the dream of concentrated shops that would benefit the businessperson as well as the consumer and that would foster a sense of shared community Modernist Philip Johnson applauded Gruen for creating a true civic art and architecture that enriched Americans daily lives, and for decades he received praise from luminaries such as Lewis Mumford, Winthrop Rockefeller, and Lady Bird Johnson Yet, in the end, Gruen returned to Europe, thoroughly disillusioned with his American dream In Mall Maker, the first biography of this visionary spirit, M Jeffrey Hardwick relates Gruen s successes and failures his work at the 1939 World s Fair, his makeover of New York s Fifth Avenue boutiques, his rejected plans for reworking entire communities, such as Fort Worth, Texas, and his crowning achievement, the enclosed shopping mall Throughout Hardwick illuminates the dramatic shifts in American culture during the mid twentieth century, notably the rise of suburbia and automobiles, the death of downtown, and the effect these changes had on American life Gruen championed the redesign of suburbs and cities through giant shopping malls, earnestly believing that he was promoting an American ideal, the ability to build a community Yet, as malls began covering the landscape and downtowns becamedepressed, Gruen became painfully aware that his dream of overcoming social problems through architecture and commerce was slipping away By the tumultuous year of 1968, it had disappeared Victor Gruen made America depend upon its shopping malls While they did not provide an invigorated sense of community as he had hoped, they are enduring monuments to the lure of consumer culture.
- Tapa dura
- Mall Maker: Victor Gruen, Architect of an American Dream
- M. Jeffery Hardwick
- 25 June 2019 M. Jeffery Hardwick