Megadesigner Outlet Mall


This project done with George Buchanan Architects as the architect of record, LADA as site design consultants, and Transsystems Builders in Houston as the site and building engineers was a study for the first outlet mall outside the center city of Bucharest.

The site had major constraints. Power and water lines that fed the city ran directly under the property restricting the buildable footprint to a cruciform area roughly in the center of the property with partial frontage along a main artery into the downtown.

The mall form is a hybrid from the big box formats popularized in the 1990’s and the pedestrian outlet malls throughout the United States. Recent studies done by consultants to the project favored the hybrid so that shoppers could have access to a central spine of shops.

Transsystems which fabricates metal buildings used primarily in the food industry was the developer for the project. They intended to use their standard building kit for the majority of the structures and asked us to analyze and construct a menu of limited options for organizing specialized retail attractors and a module that could accommodate individual shops that might be capable of renting out single and multiple bays in the complex.

The key retail locations were at the front of the complex near the highway and at the center and ends of the cruciform. Different modules were analyzed to give some variety to the scale of the pedestrian areas and to provide public gathering spaces for events sponsored by the mall developer.

Considerable attention was given to the use of lighting and signage as the limited architectural budget and the desire for advertising and pageantry would most likely come from a flexible system that needed to retain a contemporary identity for the complex.

The sign system was distinguished by the changes in scale and speed in which the mall would be experienced. Large lighting features and signals were positioned at key locations visible from all points of the development. Retail signs then scale from the experience of walking the central street down to the individual storefront.

The architectural development looked to incorporate these practical needs with a relatively inexpensive surface treatment that would give character and identity within the mall.

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