MALLOCALYPSE: the loss of great space
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The contemporary North American believes that you can purchase happiness. We search in boxes labeled new and improved, looking for products that are forever bigger, stronger, and faster. We want these things because they will make our lives easier, make us look prettier, and bring us social acceptance. It is our social insecurities that blindly drive this lifestyle. Happiness cannot be sold, and we have become mindless in our consumption. It is in the heart of the suburban world where you can find the beginning of the end. It is the North American shopping mall. We created it as means to meet our demands for more convenient access to stores and services. Its design was manipulated, unapologetically perfected, and rigorously overproduced. The mall has replaced our town squares and main streets with fields of asphalt, yields of the same giant signs, neon lights and brand names. The public realm has been privatized and commercialized. The zombie apocalypse is upon us. The shopping mall stands among us as the reanimated corpse of the dead downtown and represents the loss of great space. Through horror films and personal inflection, a biography of the mall, and a literary dissection of its contemporaries, this thesis examines the misconceptions of North American public spaces through the shopping mall and branded culture. This thesis rediscovers the practise of creating great space through an architectural discourse of the Humbertown Shopping Centre. We desperately need spaces for the living. I argue for public spaces that serve no commercial intent, but rather nourish our desires for authentic human interaction.