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So, just how far can shopping centre

design go? “The sky’s the limit,” says Whitmore, who believes that malls of the future will develop to such a degree – with numerous attractions and facilities – that visitors will stay in shopping centre hotels for three or four days. For Broadway Malyan’s Rough, the

shopping experience will continue to evolve despite the growth in e-commerce and use of social networking sites to buy products and services. The need for the physical presence will continue, he says, simply because customers will still want to go shopping for the human experience and social aspects.


Planning has been increasingly central to influencing the design, layout and integration of shopping centres over the past decade, writes Ian Anderson, head of Retail Planning, CBRE. New centres are, for the most part, being integrated with the

wider fabric of town centres as extensions to existing shopper circuits, rather than being hermetically-sealed environments where the shopper has no concept of season, time of day or the wider town centre beyond. Most modern centres have been influenced by planning, but the one that has exerted greatest influence has been Liverpool One. A hugely complex scheme, it connects key and previously disparate parts of the city centre, such as the main shopping area and Albert Docks. It might be argued that planners should not unduly change a scheme, but there needs to be balance. Centres work best, in my view, where there are elements that recognise the fabric, grain and patterns of the town centre but provide at least some covered areas. A great example is Hammerson’s new proposals for Victoria Gate in Leeds. This takes as a lead the legacy and tradition of arcades within the city, while connecting with the wider urban grain of the city centre.

“Shops will increasingly become

destinations, the design quality will rise and there will be more to look at and relate to. This has become the core purpose of flagship stores such as Nike Town, which provide an almost museum-like setting to showcase products and increase brand awareness through consumer interaction.” He adds: “Some ultra-modern retail

development will continue to take a strong avant-garde and exotic approach, but this niche will be dictated by competition between developers’ desires to outdo each other in, for example, terms of innovation and quirkiness.


A shopping centre fit for the 21st century needs to be able to operate efficiently, engage with the local community and add to local biodiversity, while appearing as a piece of sculptural art within the landscape and providing the best possible environment for retailers, says Louise Ellison, manager, Responsible Property Investment at PRUPIM. So how are developers and designers

responding to this challenge? Recent mall schemes suggest they

are trying. Trinity Leeds has tackled the sculptural art challenge, providing a radical change to the local landscape. Westfield Stratford has a combined cooling heat and power system to reduce carbon emissions, and One New Change has ground source cooling. PRUPIM is examining the potential

for hydrogen fuel cell technology in major retail centres and is using a single loop to provide background heating and cooling to retail units; Hammerson is reportedly working to take air conditioning out of some centres where plant is due for replacement and natural ventilation can be made to work. But a retailer’s desire for the brightest

and most comfortable environment can conflict with an asset manager’s desire to reduce environmental impact. Where developers and retailers

work together good things have been achieved, as with Boots’ EcoStore retrofit in Eastbourne. In shopping centres there remains

a resistance to moving away from familiar fit-out standards to different lux levels and natural ventilation; sub-metering and data sharing between asset manager and occupier are often patchy, limiting any real understanding of operational performance. Design has come a long way in the

past 10 years, but taking it to the next level requires collaboration between retailers and developers to better align sustainability objectives.

Leisure offerings may become a more important factor but, as we’ve seen with cinemas, their fortunes and popularity can fluctuate.” But, of course, all great ideas need

money. Whitmore says: “All developers get wrapped up in a constant challenge between cost and delivery, but sometimes you have to put that to one side and be visionary about your approach.”

(Parts of this feature first appeared in Asia Property magazine)

Summer 2013 37


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