Navigating Space: North Hills

For our navigating space assignment I took a trip to the North Hills shopping center. While being there I noticed immediately that it is well kept and maintained regularly. The overall warm and bright feeling I got while being there is evident in the design style they chose. Looking at the pictures I took while being there you can clearly see their style choices in the layout and overall presentation of the area. In my featured image and the first image on the left you can see this design very clearly. The space is open, clean, and hosts a more modern look to the landscape. The buildings are each different with their own different design. The colors are welcoming, and the environment mirrors that. To ass to this welcoming feeling there are some elements that they add to the layout. One of witch is the green space in front of the theatre and another element like the water fountain, which sadly wasn’t working while I was there. There is also plenty of seating areas which blend into the environment and make the space feel very home like. This is further seen in the plant life and decoration around this area. Bushes, trees, and flowers line the streets and sidewalks. With the addition of outdoor lights in the trees and on the buildings makes the area feel more comfortable for the shoppers. Every store and street in unique in its design. A focus on good looks without being too repetitive is the goal of this area. Included in that thought is the use of art on the streets. There were plenty of spaces on the sidewalks and on the walls of shops where they use art to create a fun and creative environment. The design of this area is used to create a special experience for its shoppers and it is done with the welcoming, fun, modern, and home like feeling that the environment gives off while being there.

Discussion — One Response

  • Kiara Bush 04/15/2022 on 10:05 PM

    While I do love a trip to North Hills, I have to say that for me it is not the most welcoming setting. I love that there is a lot of warm open space, and the shopping center always looks clean and pristine, but I feel like this clean perfection is kept up so well that it begins to feel disingenuous. Save for a few large fountains, the whole place is very boxy, and the buildings look mostly the same unless you’re counting the individual decorations and signage from each business. I believe that this linear and boxy form can serve well in terms of navigation, which is especially important for an area that is meant for people to wander around. On the other hand, I feel like once you’ve seen North Hills you’ve seen it a million times. The modern look to me becomes too repetitive and I wish that the natural areas were more of that: natural. The grass and trees are all perfectly symmetrical and spaced apart and I feel like a level of beauty and character could be added if they were allowed to grow in a less strict form. I would also suggest including more special landmarks that aren’t dependent on the stores that are there. We’re all familiar with the struggle of finding your car in a repetitive parking lot; the same goes for the upper levels that host shops. With the fountain out of commission, someone unfamiliar with the layout might get lost in the light tan buildings and nearly identical trees sprinkled throughout the area. The design of the venue (North Hills) should be complemented and enhanced by the shops that are present, not held up by them. Finally, I do recognize that this shopping center is meant to be high-end and a bit fancy. Perhaps I am biased in my general distaste for excessive symmetry and geometry, but regardless, it impacts how long I (and likely others too) wish to stay there and explore.

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