Qualified Condition

August 15, 2008

When a Strip Mall Isn’t so Bad

Filed under: Building Plays Well With Others, Vive le Strip Mall — qualifiedcondition @ 5:47 pm


I showed a pretty bad example of a new strip mall development that went in on York Blvd a short while ago.  It was the sort of auto-oriented nonsense that has no place or relevance in an urban area (or anywhere else for that matter) and so I wanted to show an example of a similar commercial strip that was constructed at around the same time in Pasadena.

The primary triumph of this development is that it doesn’t make you feel stupid for walking.  In fact, with only a narrow driveway skirted by railings and planted with speed bumps every 20 feet it makes you feel stupid for driving.  Here all of the doors and windows are on the street, there are structural canopies that hold signage and provide shade and everything is built at a pedestrian scale.  Sure the architectural treatment will probably look a little dated over time and the actual tenants are more or less unnecessary (Starbucks, Robek’s, T-Mobile, Panda Express, rinse and repeat…) but the actual building by virtue of its site planning, pedestrian orientation and ability to relate to the surrounding Colorado Boulevard context is a success.

You can tell some underpaid urban planner arm-wrestled this one into shape.


1 Comment »

  1. being a PCCer i agree… i have been suckered into the Starbucks there (they don’t want you to have free soymilk, by the way), simply because i was walking by… oh, and it’s better than the stuff on campus.

    Comment by xie — August 23, 2008 @ 2:33 am

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