Vivaci GuardaEdit profile
Vivaci Guarda Shopping Centre Over the past 15 years as designers in the retail industry, we have been constantly trying to raise the calibre of the shopping centre as a building type to that of other notable buildings in the contemporary city. We have always felt that, in order to achieve this status, the shopping centre had to be more than “a well-detailed box`, to quote Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous adage concerning the unresponsiveness of modern architecture to the inflections of life. It is hard to imagine a more vilified building type than the shopping centre. Hitherto, and not entirely without reason, it has been denounced for promoting the decline of main street and downtowns in general. But regardless of the passionate debate it sparkles, the shopping centre has become a relentless and inevitable reality of the quotidian, not only in the western world, but also in developing countries. For many of these places, the shopping centre is the community’s de facto downtown "the main civic assembly spot" and as a result, what happens to the shopping centre may ultimately define what happens to the community. This small shopping centre in the time-honoured city of Guarda, inland Portugal, is located on the boundary between its historical core and the 1950s urban expansion. Designed for an extremely narrow and long plot, and bridging a grade level difference of 20 metres between the bordering streets, the building is set in 5 levels of retail and leisure in addition to 3 levels of underground parking. Besides the supermarket anchor, this unusual ensemble includes nearly 80 shops, 4 cinemas and a food court with a panoramic window overlooking the city. Inside, colours and stripes have been chosen as a dominating theme, creating bright, dynamic and airy spaces, while on the outside the undulating white striped concrete panels and coloured glass dominate the surface of the building.