Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Jon Jerde’s Horton Plaza Mall: Contextual Commercialism in the Tradition of Charles W. Moore
by Adkisson, Kevin, M.A., University of Delaware, 2020, 200; 27997174
Abstract (Summary)

Completed in 1985, architect Jon Jerde’s (1940–2015) Horton Plaza mall is an urban fairy tale that stands as both a high point of postmodern commercial architecture and a living expression of the theories of postmodern pioneer Charles W. Moore (1925–1993). The mall, intended to revive and reinvent downtown San Diego, grew from the modernist urban planning and retail theories of shopping center pioneer Victor Gruen (1903–1980), yet presents itself in a distinctly postmodern form. Horton Plaza’s colorful architecture embodies the postmodern movement’s shift from anti-establishment origins in the academy toward its later, commercial flowering. While Jerde made his career designing malls and entertainment architecture, Horton Plaza stands apart among the architect’s work for both its visual richness and its engagement with the larger architectural discourse. In particular, the aesthetics, materials, form, and focus on placemaking demonstrated at Horton Plaza reflect the philosophies of Charles W. Moore. Horton Plaza and its place within Moore’s sprawling legacy is the focus of this thesis, which speculates about the continued impact of Moore and postmodernism’s commercial turn on today’s built environment at a moment when Horton Plaza itself faces almost certain demolition.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Isenstadt, Sandy
School: University of Delaware
Department: American Material Culture
School Location: United States -- Delaware
Source: MAI 82/3(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Architecture, Art history, Urban planning
Keywords: Moore, Charles W., Horton Plaza, Jerde, Jon, Postmodern architecture, San Diego, Shopping mall
Publication Number: 27997174
ISBN: 9798678107060
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