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Architect responsible for mall architecture in the US



Top-level malls such as the Mall of America, The Universal Citywalk, Las Vegas’ Bellagio and many others attract huge crowds.


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This is thanks mainly to Jon Jerde, the American urbanist and architect who recently passed away at the age of 75.  

This type of mall may be commonplace nowadays, but this was not always so.  In a new obituary in Architect Magazine, Jerde’s vision to achieve communal experiences in appealing surroundings is brought to the fore.

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Jerde founded a design studio more than 35 years ago and converted it into an international company undertaking in excess of 100 projects around the world.  He passionately clung to his spot as a ‘placemaker’.  His projects are named ‘Jerde Places’ and the tagline for his website is ‘PlaceMaking since 1977’.  Jerde did not place focus on urban renewal by making use of urban parks, but rather fashioned private space to mimic public space.  According to the writer, Jacobs, this unique approach made use of spirited strategies in a bid to increase consumption.  

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Some of the ‘Jerde Places’ include:

  • Fremont Street in the downtown area of Las Vegas, which is a 140-meter long pedestrian mall, with 2.1 million lights placed on the ceiling of its cover
  • Atlanta, Georgia’s New World of Coca-Cola is a 20-acre redevelopment which boasts tasting rooms and theaters, next to a reflecting pool and a patch of greenery
  • Horton Plaza, located in San Diego, California is an 11-acre urban district offering visitors brightly-colored building, with a double-curved pedestrian street.  Here you can find offices, hotels, theaters, shopping and dining facilities
  • In Fukuoka, Japan, Canal City Hakata is a cinema and shopping area that boasts streaming water and vegetation
  • Istanbul, Turkey’s Kanyon is a 240000 sq ft open-air complex, with a spectacular amphitheater, terraces and winding courtyards


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So, the next time you visit a public space and you experience an interesting use of space, vivid colors or spectacular lighting, you may well be inside a Jerde Place, or an area inspired by his designs.

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