The View From 32


JUNE 7, 2007  More below: SUNSET  

Architecture of greed

Legacy Village storesMaybe that's too harsh. But it's definitely the architecture of consumption.

I spent a good part of today in unfamiliar territory: two eastside "lifestyle" shopping centers, Eaton Place and Legacy Village. Each is a cluster of fanciful architectural facades wrapped around your basic suburban shopping mall.

Oh, and let's not forget, lots of free parking. In effect, fantasy shopping islands floating in a sea of parking. What could be more American?

Since so much of our lifestyle has become focused on what we buy and own, planners and architects have taken great pains to make the experience fun. Attractive, interesting buildings hold all sorts of stuff. How can we live without it?

I was so focused on picking up some trail mix and cheap wine at Trader Joe's that I forgot about the place called Design Within Reach. I'm pretty sure had I gone in there I would have come out with stuff that looked very cool in the store but disappointingly less cool in my ordinary house. Even though I try to not buy things unless I really need them, well-designed household things, lamps especially, are my weak point. But this time I escaped most of the temptations.

I did check out the new MacBook Pro at the Apple Store. I still haven't replaced my 12" Powerbook that was stolen at last year's Ingenuity Festival. I've been waiting for Apple to upgrade the laptops, so now may be the time.

In terms of shopping, how can older cities like Cleveland possibly compete with these instant gratification lifestyle enhancers? Real cities by nature aren't tidy. In a city the old rubs up against the new, ugly meets beautiful, upper class meets lower. Messy, unpredictable, sometimes challenging. The opposite of the controlled, non-threatening, predictable architecture of the shopping mall, now in the "lifestyle center" flavor.


TOP   |       |      |   

Sunset at Edgewater

Sunset over the beach

Close to 90° but a breeze kept it pleasant. We walked from the lower parking lot to 114th & Harborview, admiring the lovely houses along the way. Walking back, nearly sunset, the lake had that luminous quality it gets at certain times of day.


TOP   |       |      |