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Mall Maker: Victor Gruen, Architect of an American Dream

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0812237627
ISBN-10: 0812237625
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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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (September 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812237625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812237627
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,599,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer 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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By A Customer 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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Format: Hardcover
There are only two things to say about this book on Gruen the Mall Maker: 1) The writing must be overlooked, and 2) the substance of the book is crucial to understanding American cities and American culture as we know it today. It made me want to read more about architecture, city planning and economic trends as market forces redesigning neighborhoods, towns, cities and, ultimately, our country. It made me want to go back to school and get a degree in Urban Planning. It made me want to petition the school board to include the study of commerical design and the rise of malls in every high school American history class. It made me want to recommend it to all of my friends who live in cities, love cities, love their malls, live near malls and who shop at malls. The subject matter fascinated me; the writing - not so much so.
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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want to learn about the life of Victor Gruen, this is it. The author seems to have put a lot of work into making this book. Lots of good pictures to go with vivid descriptions of the storefront and mall designs.
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