Sana Tabassum
Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
@sana.rchitecture + @to.scale

Shopping has become a lost activity in today’s society. Responding to the brief ‘Future Ruins’ this project explores the revival of the shopping mall, a dying architectural wonder. The retail scene is moving towards an interactive and fast-paced culture, accelerating the experience economy however losing the physical and sensory qualities. The rise of e-commerce platforms and automated shopping has meant that the old-school ways of buying your groceries or visiting the mall are no longer a recreational activity. Through this project, these are reintroduced and celebrated through spaces which are designed for communal activities and exploration. The building makes use of both interactive elements as well improving upon some of the qualities of malls and shopping places.

Imagining shopping as a future religion, exaggerated to an extreme, to the point where even the architectural fabric itself is created from retail waste, is the basis for the Burslem Basilica. A shrine to shopping, the basilica is not just a mall, it is also a public building for the community to come together, in an effort to rejuvenate the local area. The building materials are made up of recycled elements from ‘Britain’s most depressing High Street’ and other surrounding shops. From something simple as a shopping trolley to a collection of shopping baskets, the intended purposes of these objects are turned on their heads and used in a completely unique way, designing new artifacts. The same model can also be implemented throughout the country to introduce a new attraction and boost the economy in small towns.

The grandiose reinvention of the shopping mall and a typical British High Street is encapsulated in a skin of shop shutters, protecting spaces such as the Garden of Eat’n and Hall of Forgotten Artifacts. Based in the heart of the town, the shutters provide opportunities for light, protection against the elements as well as inducing a sense of mystery and wonder. At the end of each day, the entire building takes part in the Grand Shutter Ceremony where the sound of metallic shutters create a forgotten symphony. Fill your trolleys with the buried culture of shopping.

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