Frank Gehry’s Santa Monica Place Mall gets a much-needed upgrade from Omniplan
This weekend marked the official reopening of Frank Gehry’s modernised Santa Monica Place Mall in California. Crowds stormed the gates, bodies flooding the complex keen to explore the newly refurbished retail centre. Such is the current fashion for open-air shopping facilities that Gehry’s 1980s design was becoming increasingly outdated, leading Texas-based architecture practice Omniplan – in association with Jerde Partnership – to embark on a mission to bring the mall into the new millennium.
At 500,000 sq ft, the three story shopping and dining centre dominates the Third Street Promenade within easy walking distance of the Santa Monica Pier and beach. In the past, Santa Monica Place has appeared in multiple blockbusters such as Pretty in Pink, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Beverly Hills, 90210 so it was crucial that the newly reworked design allowed the facility to retain its sense of identity.
Omniplan have installed a third storey Dining Deck with impressive views over the Pacific Ocean, removed the roof and added multiple environmentally-friendly features in an effort to target LEED Silver certification. Pedestrian flow has also been improved although there have been rumours that the complex now lacks the necessary seating for a public facility. Shoppers are to be protected from the rare bouts of California rain by overhanging canopies that guard every entrance to the complex. The $265m project was funded by owner and developer The Macerich Company who purchased Santa Monica Place in 1999 and proposed the redesign in 2007.
Tipton Housewright, FAIA, LEED AP and Omniplan Principal, said: “Our goal with Santa Monica Place was to connect it to its surroundings. The new structure is open to the neighbourhood on all sides and the public areas remain accessible 24-7. We’re thrilled to be part of creating this exciting new retail destination in Santa Monica.”