Talk/Debate: Mediating InfraStructures - Shopping Centers


Date: May 26th 2015

Mediating [Infra]Structures—Shopping Centers



common room is pleased to announce:
Mediating [Infra]Structures

Mediating [Infra]Structures is a series of talks, debates and workshops that investigates if the proclaimed disappearance of the public sphere can be reassembled in contemporary shared spaces like shopping centers, mass transport hubs and cultural centers.


Mediating [Infra]Structures—Shopping Centers

Saturday, June 13—15:00
Espace Louise
Gulden-Vlieslaan | Avenue de la Toison d’Or 40-42
1050 Brussels | Map

David Smiley
Jen Smit
Jeroen Dirckx
Gideon Boie (moderator)

David Smiley (US) is a practicing architect and historian, who written extensively about architecture, housing and cities. In 2002 he edited Redressing the Mall: Sprawl and Public Space in Suburbia.

Jen Smit (AUS) writes and researches on public space and the value of terrain vague—neglected spaces within cities—and the opportunity that these spaces offer as a counterpoint to places of ordinary consumption and production within cities.

Jeroen Dirckx (B) is associate and urban planner at KCAP Architects&Planners in Rotterdam. He worked on the NEO project in Brussels, the London Olympic Legacy masterplanning framework and the Stadium Park vision in Rotterdam.

Gideon Boie (B) is a Brussels-based architecture theorist and co-founder of the research and activism firm BAVO that focuses on the political dimension of art, architecture, and urban planning.


Since its inception in the early 1940s, much has been written about the shopping center. Particular emphasis has been placed on its ability (or rather ‘inability’) to function as a public space. Architects and historians have been predominantly critical, describing the shopping center as a space of contrived hyper-consumption and social control. As a discipline, architecture has more often than not dismissed the shopping center as a valuable subject, precisely because it is perceived a ‘prison of consumerism’, which—in turn—has led to the assumption that their formal design is merely a solidification of commercial forces and therefore unworthy of examination. These observations lead to the question: would a profound architectural reconsideration of the shopping center reveal spatial concepts and social patterns that open up the opportunity to function as a shared space and to engender a feeling of ‘collectivity’?

The public talk and debate on shopping centers will be expanded on by a series of workshops and classes in the framework of the public school for architecture brussels.

Admission is free, no booking required.


For more information on the program visit our website or Facebook.

Mediating [Infra]Structures
is a joint project by common room, Janina Gosseye and City3
in collaboration with the public school for architecture brussels

With the support of:
The Arts and Heritage Agency of the Flemish Community
KU Leuven Faculty of Architecture Campus Sint Lucas
TU Delft Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment

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+32 2 880 82 56

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+1 212 358 8605



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