For decades, this mall was the focal point of a prosperous suburban community. aA was invited to submit a design concept that would ensure its continued economic vibrancy and, in the client’s words, “make the site a model of 21st century urbanism” for the entire city. aA’s response blends enriched public spaces with a diverse, urbanized mix of residential, entertainment, retail and commercial uses. The concept combines the best features of two influential planning precedents: the medieval town plaza and the 19th century ‘garden city’. Streets radiate from a central piazza, establishing an arena for public life surrounded by a dense network of buildings, laneways and green space.

Buildings are vertically zoned with stores and restaurants at street level, residential and commercial units above, and parking and loading buried below grade. Along the south and west edges of the site, townhouse units reflect the character of the community. The high street bisecting the site is edged with deep, tree-lined sidewalks connecting the development with residential zones to the north and south. A linear park along the eastern edge of the site draws green space across a major arterial road from the heavily treed residential zone to the east.

Design Competition: Reinventing a 1950s Shopping Centre