To make the shopping centre relevant again, we must create multi-functional destinations that prioritise experiential design.
MAWD’s concept for the Experience Driven High Street imagines a journey taken through the space. Reimagined leisure, residential and office space sit alongside boutique retail and hospitality, resulting in a thriving, forward-thinking interpretation of the high streets that shopping centres replaced.
We begin with a sense of arrival. A 50,000 sq ft anchor store becomes a creative space with studios, workspace, hospitality and event spaces, activating the building at all levels, day and night, seven days a week. That activation gives the point of entry energy, leaving the end user with the feeling that something exciting is always happening.
Beyond, a meandering streetscape designed at human scale moves from ground-floor level up to the roof, with planting and seating with which people can interact. The greenery forms a key component in renewing the look and feel of the architecture, cascading down from the rooftop garden that replaces the car park.
At the centre, an atrium connects all levels and creates a hub of amenities
Further along the journey, former retail frontages become immersive, interactive spaces in which digital brands and companies can have an opportunity to ‘come to life’ for their customers. These sit alongside traditional but forward-thinking retailers looking to appeal to new audiences. Hospitality elements along this journey blur the lines between traditional retail and F&B, ensuring the streetscape is active.
At the centre, an atrium connects all levels and creates a lifestyle-focused hub of amenities including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a gym, spa and wellness centre, indoor football pitches and a cinema. This atrium is designed as an internal garden and becomes a destination in its own right.
At the journey’s end, the second 50,000 sq ft space becomes a highly amenitised residential component – apartments that have their own private, hospitality-led amenities and benefit from the lifestyle conveniences at the heart of the scheme.
With all of these elements working together, the former shopping centre becomes an active community – a place where people desire to live, work and visit.
The great design challenge: centre forward
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The great design challenge: MAWD