Victor Gruen (1903-1980) is the commercial architect who became renowned in the 1950s America as the "pioneer of shopping center", then by his urban redevelopement projects as the "saviour of the downtowns", and by the mid-1960s as the "architect of environment". This book focuses on Gruen's theories and projects in the American practice between 1938 and 1968: especially with respect to the return of the city centre and urban culture as the focus of social and cultural life of the region.
Amid the mid-century debates surrounding the development and transformation of the American city and suburb, a renowned architect-planner, Victor Gruen (1903-80), became one of the most important figures in this rapidly changing context.
Tremendously influential during the 1950's and 60s, Gruen's work was driven by urban planning problems created by the rapid onset of new suburbias, urban highways, and the subsequent deterioration of existing downtowns. Dubbed the “pioneer of the shopping center,” Gruen envisioned the suburban mall as a new type of urban public space in the new dispersed residential fabric. In this book, which outlines the theories and projects that mark a thirty year period, Alex Wall presents the largely overlooked story of conflict between the ambition of an architect and the transformation of American society, cities, and landscape.
This book is a fascinating exploration of postwar America and the ongoing validity of Gruen's theories and work within current urban discourse.