Malls as courtyard houses

click on images for full-size:

Providence Place Mall

Approaching the mall

The courtyard house is, of course, still with us -- it has not become obsolete. Its basic feature is that the rooms open out to the privacy of interior space and present their blank backs to the outside world. Within and without are clearly defined; people can be certain of where they are. . . .

Even contemporary America, with its ideal of openness symbolized by large windows and glass walls, has created the enclosed suburban shopping center. How will the shopper experience such a place? As he approaches it in his car across the vast expanse of the parking lot, he can see only the center's unperforated outer sheath which, except for a large trade sign, makes no attempt to lure people in. The image is bleak. He parks the car, steps inside the center's portal, and at once enters a charmed world of light and color, potted plants, bubbling fountains, soft music, and leisurely shoppers. Tuan 1977, 108

This is changing, though, as the enclosed mall gives way to the renewed strip mall.