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Mall Maker: Victor Gruen, Architect of an American Dream Hardcover – September 30, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0812237627 ISBN-10: 0812237625

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (September 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812237625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812237627
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,992,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Victor Gruen may well have been the most influential architect of the twentieth century."—Malcom Gladwell, New Yorker



"Mall Maker is an important book. . . . The fact that Gruen's buildings are more lived in than the work of nearly any other modern architect makes him a designer worth reading about."—Metropolis Magazine



"An insightful account . . . in lucid prose."—New York Times



"Hardwick's thesis is compelling . . . : instead of saving the city, Gruen inadvertently contributed to its demise."—Washington Times



"A pioneering book on a seriously neglected subject, and everybody interested in the evolution of twentieth-century cities should read it."—Alex Garvin, Archives of American Art Journal



"Hardwick brings fresh insight into the specific role of shopping centers in spawning the twin evils of sprawl and urban decline."—Enterprise & Society

About the Author

M. Jeffrey Hardwick is Senior Program Officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities. He earned his Ph.D. degree in American studies from Yale University.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By SOCAL on December 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I heard the author on the radio and thought this sounded interesting, it was definitely worth it. I'm an architect and have worked on a few retail projects, although no malls yet, so I could easily identify with Gruen. He seemed both to be a naive dreamer and a very calculating businessman. He was also caught up in the American cycle of trying to make one more buck. Gruen's story made me rethink the reasons why Americans love shopping so much--all the lights, art, and designs do nothing but make us believe that shopping is enjoyable. Is it really? Gruen's story also made me think about why architects think they can solve the world's problems with better buildings; I guess it goes with the territory.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "mmoolson" on December 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is totally fascinating, although a tad repetitive about retailing theories for my taste. I would never have guessed what an amazing influence Gruen had on American life (and how egotisitical he was). I think the author quotes the architect Philip Johnson saying that Gruen influenced America much more than all the arty modern architects put together. And that is so true. Gruen seemed to anticipate future trends in retailing, city planning, and architecture and then actually build them. The one question that I had was whether or not Gruen was a good guy or only in it for himself.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "adellaharris" on December 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
My first true mall shopping was done in a Gruen mall, although I was quite unaware at the time of the fascinating story behind this complex man and his vision for America's public spaces.
Thanks to this engaging work by Hardwick, I feel now feel enlightened as I prowl the mall that Gruen built. You don't need to be an architect or a social scientist to enjoy this book because the author makes the subject approachable for the inner shopper in everyone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book about a single, fascinating individual and about American culture in the twentieth century. There is an irony here: Gruen was very idealistic about the mall's potential to improve society, but he didn't realize that, ultimately, his creation would cause the "malling of America." And he DID build the first mall...the first ENCLOSED mall (rather than an outdoor arcade), which was copied all over the country and is now the dominate type.
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