Peter Drummond of BDP, who was commissioned by the BCSC to 'embrace and enquire into what is known as the Urban Design Agenda', used the conference as an opportunity to report back on progress.
His starting point was a look at the history of shopping centres. The early ones were Brutalist affairs, but in the 1980s a more humanistic approach was adopted - examples include The Lanes in Carlisle and Orchard Square in Sheffield. Then came the recession of the 1990s and a new breed of developer emerged who, while focusing on the bottom line, also realised what was happening in Europe - in Holland, Spain and Portugal - could provide a guide to how shopping could play an enormous part in delivering the renaissance of our town and city centres. Surprisingly, the Rogers report failed to emphasise this fact.
Using the CABE definition of good design, as well as English Partnerships', the working party came up with 10 principles of good design for retail outlets under the headings: character; ease of movement; continuity and enclosure; quality of the public realm; legibility; adaptability;
diversity and a mix of uses; sustainability and balance with nature; and value and inclusivity. Good stuff - get a copy of the paper from ms-besford@bdp. co. uk Jon A Jerde of the Jerde Partnership from Venice, California, let a stream of architectural consciousness flow until his slides were fast-forwarded by a hidden hand, signifying that his time was up. His initial theme was that his architecture was not about making objects, rather that he was creating an experience, a 'fantasy of space'.
There was no doubting his commercial acumen in creating successful shopping centres around the world, each new development being categorised by the number of people who visited it on an annual basis - proof of an urban revival with clear examples such as the disused naval dockyards in San Diego. His team had calculated that every year, more than one billion people walk though his shopping malls around the world.