The days when shopping centers placed importance on functionality over the needs of users are long gone. From retail workers to shoppers, the users of today expect far more than a space strewn with stores and a food court. They are on the hunt for a far more holistic experience: a place to not only shop but unwind from the rigours of their everyday lives, as well.
Contemporary shopping centers are the modern-day agoras, with many people gathered to enjoy a variety of leisure activities. When designing these kinds of setting nowadays, user-experience and overall habitability are key concepts, with the actual shopping itself moved to a secondary plane.
Reinvention is Required Due to Their Lack of Relevance
Before ecommerce, like the pokies New Zealand offers, for example, skyrocketed in popularity the way it has of late, shopping centers were the most suitable location for users to purchase what they needed easily, and the phenomenon of congregation was a direct result of this.
With the rise of internet-based shopping, however, these spaces are no longer as relevant as they once were, and shopping alone is not enough to attract users anymore. The need for places to gather together is still present, however. If users do not find additional elements to the layout of the buildings they won’t come to the premises. Herewith are certain points architects are taking into account when designing shopping centers more suited to 21st century users’ needs.
Spiral Circuits and Shopping Centers are No More
The shopping centers of yesteryear had a very simple circulation system, made up of a circuit which was designed to impel the user on a path that ensured they passed every store on their trip. In order to achieve this, elliptical circulation placed the stairs as far away as possible from each other, with the most extreme cases of this kind of circulation being evident in spiral shopping malls, which feature ramps that force users to go through the entire center in order to get to the top.
A Shift Towards Organic Structures
In contemporary settings, shopping malls should incorporate more organic structures which make it easier for the user to locate what they are looking for without frustrating them to the point that they leave.
These kinds of organic circulations should be interlaced with areas for users to congregate, like sitting areas, green spaces, and cafes. Shopping malls that are of newer designs usually make a point of integrating boulevard-esque areas into their overall functionality, rendering the retail aspect of the building a supporting character, instead of the main focus, for the design.
Habitability a Key Feature of Today’s Design
Older shopping centers were intended to be as hermetical as possible, with the aim being to remove the user from the outside world in order to ensure nothing stopped them from shopping. Now that this activity is no longer enough to draw users, the main focus should switch to making users as comfortable as is possible in order to attract them.
Natural light, green spaces, good views, and comfortable settings intended for permanence are key when the question of designing a contemporary shopping center is brought up. The updated design element does not only benefit the shoppers, either, but those working in these spaces as well.