Design and detail well a great big shed. Build it to last, not to leak and be flexible.

Invite multiple retailers in to lease a patch of space. Clump them into similar offers. All the butchers go together, so its easier to shop.

Give them free reign to be themselves as a business.

Apply some basic rules on space, height restrictions and signage but otherwise loosen your control within these rules to allow for the human/brand character to come through.

Not that much different from the modern shopping centre. I suspect Halifax market was initially controlled every bit as much as any new shopping centre is. Rigid rules on all elements that make up each stall/trading space.

Over time, Halifax market has become less of a centre for economic wealth in the town. Its slipped off the radar of the style police and is all the better for it.

The market feels alive, not sterile and manicured like your local shopping centre. Not contrived or used as a exercise in how companies can out design each other. Its all pretty cheap and pragmatic. I love how the old rules are starting to melt under layers of cabling, signage and other elements.

And if the market fades which I hope it doesn’t, the building is still there, a loose fit structure that could accept pretty much any use.

So the idea of the shopping centre was never that new. Halifax market will have displaced other local traders, and forced a shift in the fabric of the town, but it did at least stay in the town and provide a focus for trade. It dealt with the inclement weather of the Pennines but didn’t force people to travel across the county.

I am not a fan of the modern shopping centre and what they do to our cities but as a building type in some ways they are not much different from the traditional market hall, just bigger in scale to feed our voracious appetite for stuff. I

I wonder how the mega shopping centre will look in 100 years in a world of shopping on the web where we use our cars less due to the cost of fuel . The distribution centre (I’m thinking amazon) is already the new kid on the block.

It may be that the in-town market hall might well be prove to be the right balance between local and mass. Time will sort all that out.

Leave a Comment

Error: Please check your entries!