Shopping centres are usually designed to draw people in and fulfil all their consumer needs, offering convenience through giving everything they need in one place, aiming to stimulate their visitors is another architectural concept. Designed by UNStudio, the new Galleria Centercity in Chenoa, Korea has gained notoriety for doing just this.
Along with landscape architects Gansam, based in Amsterdam, UNStudio designed the exterior and interior of the 66,000 sqm shopping centre stemming from watching human behavioural tendencies in large complex developments.
This sociological experiment transpired into a retail space which challenges the role of large commercial centres, which suggests that shopping centres are no longer just that; today they have become social hubs which serve a purpose beyond simple consumer gratification. They offer a place to socialise and meet, to engage with others; places which can educate and offer cultural experiences and feed a hungry stomach.
Completed in December 2010 this new concept for the development incorporates a social experiment with an environment which provides retail centres, food courts and public spaces; combined with this is an artistic and cultural centre.
The facade of the exterior is a dominant design feature of the development. It is complex, but establishes a unique personality for the centre whilst serving a completely new approach to advertising and branding. As opposed to projecting constant adverts to the general public, the facade incorporates an animated display; instead of the visitors possibly feeling brainwashed by their shopping experience this brings an artistic aspect to the building.
The complex outer shell makes up a ribbed structure which is based on a design system of twin layering otherwise known as the two layers of lamellas. In daylight this produces a reflective monochrome effect, whilst during the night the layering generates waves of soft colour across the surface.
The importance of this layering system stands out architecturally as the facade is wrapped in the largest illuminated surface of its kind within the world. The inner skin of the facade is made up of vertical mullions which create a linear pattern. Mullions act as a structural feature which divides window units; in this case the mullions laid out in this vertical pattern break up the glass shell of the façade to the outside visitors’ eye. This design feature makes it difficult for those on the outside of the building to see how many floors there actually are within the development, this serves a further purpose within the interior.
A moire effect is incorporated into this design as a means of creating an interesting visual perception close to an optical illusion. The moire effect works through sets of lines or dots which are superimposed onto more lines or dots; these two sets of shapes are laid out differently in angle, size and spacing.
Combined with the moire effect, the interior atrium constructs an illusion which enforces an alteration in the scales of the interior design and thereby generates double images. This enthralling aspect of design means that no image within the building remains as it is.
The rotational arrangement of these rounded plateaus which sit on long columns establishes a repetition of constant curves, creating a flowing physical environment which is heightened through coiled strip lighting embedded within the ceilings of the interior platforms.
The lay out of the development is divided into four stacked zones each of which combines three storeys. The design of each of the storeys is based on individual themes; public spaces integrated into the storeys connect to the buildings central area.
The central space of the building is designed to encourage ‘way finding’ for the centres visitors; within this design the element of orientation and circulation through the building supports the concept of the free flowing environment. Brought into a physical arena, the shopping centre changes from a building based on fulfilling consumer desire and need into a thronging social hub.
The exterior of the façade acts as a sustainable measure as it draws in natural light, this element is heightened by the all-white interior which reflects and bounces the natural light throughout the building, which reduces the need to use artificial lighting. Furthering a healthy indoor environment quality for the interior is the function of the lamellas in the outer skin of the façade which keep solar heat loading from entering the building; this helps to maintain a cooler environment and limits the need to use a manmade air-conditioning system.
This exquisite building design could represent the future for commercial retail centres; a place which serves the use of gratifying consumer needs, whilst, in this process the physical free-flowing interior design reflects the ever-changing and fickle movements of the human mind. Combined with this is the measure to ensure a degree of sustainability within buildings which is an ever-present and rising important factor within the built environment.