Michael Friebele

Michael Friebele

Dallas, TX, US


Mall Metabolism - Study of Vista Ridge Mall

Vista Ridge Mall sits in a portion of the DFW Metroplex that is seeing rapid growth. By all accounts retail in this area should be flourishing yet mall, recently foreclosed in 2016, is struggling to survive. This trend is not uncommon as brick and mortar stores struggle and large scale retail growth is struggling to rise. The resulting pattern is one of catabolism. The competitive market is moving with a mobile population which, in turn, creates an often necessary competition that is rendering once prosperous properties unviable.

The trend to merely create another phase in a mall's life through the form of retail or food and beverage as the solution is unsustainable. Malls have a greater ability to cause change in their respective communities given their size, location, and their familiar place amongst the population at large. Therefore, malls need to think greater on how they can change and evolve utilizing program and function in a way that responds to demographic and economic shifts.

For Vista Ridge the proposal was for the mall to remain as an outline of what was. The mall is systematically disassembled and re-used amongst the site for future use. Anchors are transformed into flexible incubators, throwing out the single-minded retail for function for one focused on innovation and exploration. These nodes become the catalyst for future growth.

While the mall evolves into a regional center the outlying big box landscape is transformed and absorbed into the dense fabric. In this specific case, these outlying areas return to the natural Trinity River watershed and contribute to the regions overall ecology and flood control. 

Over the period of 80 years the site becomes a region center once again in line with the influence the mall once served during its period of prosperity. Other malls around the region follow suit, creating a network of communities that communicate and grow together for the better of the region.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Lewisville, TX, US
My Role: Lead Designer
Additional Credits: CallisonRTKL

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