Gruen, Victor

Gruen, Victor

(gro͞o`ən), 1903–80, American architect, often called the inventor of the modern shopping mall, b. Vienna as Viktor David Grünbaum. In Vienna, he studied at the Technological Institute and Academy of Fine Arts, worked for Peter BehrensBehrens, Peter
, 1868–1940, German architect, influential in Europe in the evolution of the modern architectural style. He established before World War I a predominantly utilitarian type of architecture that at the same time achieved qualities of clarity and impressiveness.
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, and opened (1933) his own architectural firm. He fled Nazi Germany's annexation of Austria, moving (1938) to the United States and becoming a citizen (1943). His innovative design for the Lederer leather-goods shop (1939) on New York's Fifth Avenue was the first of several early retail projects. In 1951 he founded Victor Gruen Associates, bringing together an outstanding group of architects, engineers, and planners. The firm proved to be a major force in the design of renovated center cities and in the creation of the large shopping malls that came to dominate suburban commerce and entertainment. As an urban planner, Gruen was instrumental in formulating master plans for such cities as Fort Worth, Tex. (1955), Kalamazoo, Mich. (1958), Cincinnati, Ohio (1963), Fresno, Calif. (1965), and Tehran (1963–67). Among his most notable shopping-complex projects are the Northland Center (1954) in suburban Detroit; the Southdale Center (1956) in Edina, Minn., outside Minneapolis, America's first enclosed mall; the Cherry Hill Mall (1961), in the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia; and Midtown Plaza (1962), Rochester, N.Y.

Bibliography

See his Shopping Towns USA: The Planning of Shopping Centers (with L. Smith, 1960), Heart of Our Cities: Dianosis and Cure (1964), and Centers for the Urban Environment: Survival of the Cities (1973); biography by M. J. Hardwick (2004).

Gruen, Victor

(1903–1980)
Viennese architect who settled in the United States in 1938, starting his own firm in Los Angeles, specializing in shopping centers, such as Northland Center in Detroit in 1954 and Southdale Center, Minneapolis, MN.

Gruen, Victor

 

Born July 18, 1903, in Vienna. American architect.

Gruen studied in Vienna at the Higher School of Technology and at the Academy of Arts under P. Behrens. Since 1938 he has lived in the USA. An adherent of functionalism he was a pioneer and theoretician in the building of shopping and community service centers outside of cities but linked with them by convenient transportation. He designed the Northland Shopping Center 14 km from Detroit. (Built during 1952–54, it includes shops, a restaurant, ballrooms, underground roadways, and parking spaces for 10,000 automobiles.) Gruen also built the Southdale Shopping Center near Minneapolis (1956), and he is the designer of a shopping center in Fort Worth (1950’s). The Fort Worth center is a “pedestrian island” with an area of 2.6 sq km, and it consists of public and commercial buildings, six garages, and an underground street with escalators. Gruen is a critic of the chaotic condition of American cities.

WORKS

“How to Live With Your Architect.” Architectural Record, 1949, no. 28.
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