Friday, September 29, 2006

1977 Stanford Shopping Center Remodeling Article

Here's another scan of an article that appeared in Architectural Record magazine, June 1977. It talks about the significant update of the center that was groundbreaking for the time: An open-air mall during a period of mall enclosures.

I love that one of the photos shows "The Company" store, which was similiar to a Spencer Gifts. I used to shop there in 1988. Unfortunately, it's gone now. At that time, the mall featured some independent and mid-market stores, much like a neighborhood center. They even had a Woolworth's. Now, though, it's strictly upscale with many fashion-forward stores as Valley Fair. However, in terms of mall architectural and atmosphere, Stanford Shopping Center is still reigns in the Bay Area.

Field Paoli Architects designed this remodel and their work can be found in other Bay Area malls, such as Stonestown Galleria and Alameda Towne Centre.


Read my guide to Stanford Shopping Center

Visit the current Website.

See the aerial view.

Visit the site of Field Paoli.


dean said...

Thanks for posting this in your blog. The transformation from the original shopping center design to what it is became druing this renovation was very significant. I especially like the landscaping, seats, fountains, & planters that were added down the center of the mall. They really add to the atmosphere. Someone could have put in just plain, generic plantings and benches, but this area was developed with a lot of care.

Interestingly, the Fremont Hub did a remodel similar to what was done at Stanford and it actually turned out very nice. The unfortunate side of it is that they cut corners so the results were a bit on the cheap-looking side. They used a lot of 4x4 square tubes for the columns and it came off looking insubstantial. There is much to be said for having appropriately scaled architectural elements in urban environment...a lesson straight out of A Pattern Language.

Georob said...

A Pattern Language? there's a blast from my past!. In the 70's, I was an architecture student at Berkeley and took a course from Christopher Alexander, who went on to co-author that book. Unfortunately, I dropped out and instead became a business major at Cal State Hayward. The only design ambitions I have now are talking about malls on this blog(and hanging out at Lowe's)

As I've said before, Stanford better be worried about what's going on at Valley Fair. If Westfield plans to start matching Stanford's upscale offerings, it may be hard to overcome. Ironically, Valley Fair's biggest weapon against Stanford may be Santana Row; which isn't even a PART of it.

Santana Row has proven that upscale shoppers don't mind being outside and on the street if the selection and design is compelling enough. And frankly, Stanford may want to consider demolishing half its strucutres and emulating that model. And while they're at it, tying Nordstrom into the project better.

Problem is, it's easy to talk about how to revive a dying mall. But Stanford has more life than it knows what to do with.

BIGMallrat said...

I just read an article today about Stanford wanting to expand to 1.6 million square feet. Knowing full well that sales tax revenue is down due to Valley Fair and Santana Row. It's an interesting idea to knock the center down and build a village scene (straight out of Disneyland). But you are right about connecting Nordstrom to the rest of the mall. You'd think they had wanted to do that by now. But, considering the new Pottery Barn building, they must have something else in mind.
As long as Stanford can continue to attract the wealthy locals, they've got it in the bag.

Georob said...

They might not have to be that drastic. What I WOULD knock down are the south parking garages and put a new Santana-like strip(with parking above) in its place. What is now the driveway bordering the south end would now be the main street of Stanford.

And somewhere along that strip, you could build a new Nordstrom. The former Saks which is now Crate & Barrell/Andronicos could easily be relocated as well. Then that entire space across Arboretum Drive could be devoted soley to parking with bridges leading to the main center.

That way, Stanford would get its extra square footage, the old mall wouldn't be touched, you don't need to reconfigure streets(much) and there'd be one less reason to go to Santana Row.

However, anything more ambitious really requires the wrecking ball big time. But whatever they do, they need to build UP, not out. And isn't it about time they tried to incorporate more "College Town" elements into the center? After all it's Stanford, not Berkeley; and there shouldn't be a risk of scaring Mr. and Mrs. Thurston Howell away from their weekly trip to Neiman Marcus.

BIGMallrat said...

Georob... great idea. I can picture that idea taking off there.
Do you think people shop at Santana Row for the atmosphere?

Georob said...

Why do people shop at Santana Row? It's hot, it's exciting, and it's undoubtedly a place to SEE and BE SEEN. This Friday the 13th, we're driving up from Fresno for the Winchester Mystery House evening tour and we'll undoubtedly check out Santana Row.

Personally, I'd love to walk into the fanciest store and ask where Wal-Mart is.

From what I've read, one guy who's not crazy at all about Santana Row is Lew Wolff, the Oakland A's managing partner and owner of a lot of property in San Jose including the Fairmont Hotel. Needless to say he's furious at the SJ city council for supporting the Valley Fair expansion as it essentially kills any chance of bringing retail downtown.

BIGMallrat said...

I thought Santana Row *WAS* the new downtown. It's so nice because they kick the homeless out and prevent you from taking pictures.
Looks like Santana Row made number 1. You may have seen the earlier post.