The department store: A moment before the mall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Since its initial introduction in the 1840s, the primary building program of the department store has included open interior space uncluttered by structural columns, an articulated facade with elaborate storefront to attract passersby, convenient delivery access, and adjacency to public transportation and, later, large areas of parking for patrons. As the shopping mall began to dominate the suburban landscape in the middle of the twentieth century, urban retailers attempted to attract and retain customers on Main Street by updating shops and storefronts in the Moderne or International Style. Behind the slick facades, the ever more transparent storefronts brightly lit by changes in lighting and display, the nineteenth-century mercantile building type and its attendant interior remained virtually unchanged. In this case study of a mid-century urban department store in a moderately sized town in the Southern United States, the building stands as a vestigial remnant of the nineteenth-century mercantile landscape.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Interior Urbanism Theory Reader
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780429443091
StatePublished - Mar 12 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 selection and editorial matter, Gregory Marinic. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Arts and Humanities


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