Date of Award
Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]
Nick Haus Heywood
Consumerism was born in the industrial age, and has been criticized since that time, but it still exists and flourishes in new forms with the information age. Consumption affects values and life, spurring economic growth and causing ecological crises. Therefore, a critical discussion of consumerism must continue.
This thesis proposes a space within an existing mall that raises people's awareness to be vigilant against the control of consumerism by exposing how marketing packages goods and manipulates people's psychology to guide consumption. An ideal mall to host this program is the Changsha International Finance Square, a large mixed-use building in the most flourishing street in Changsha, a medium-sized city in China.
Existing malls reinforce traditional consumerist messages. The hierarchy of brands is expressed in architecture through placement and access to valuable resources, such as layout, traffic, patterns and more. Beyond physical space, with the development of the Internet, consumerism has emerged in all parts of life, analyzing data from phones and understanding of consumer psychology to manipulate people into buying even more. It shares similar characteristics with traditional consumerism, but promotes fanatical consumption in a more complex form.
Changsha, in recent years, has become an internet celebrity city popular among the younger generation, who are more likely to be lured and manipulated by internet consumerism. This thesis explores the characteristics of traditional consumerism and internet-driven spending, transforming marketing methods into spatial maneuvers. By deconstructing the hidden connotations of consumerism in architecture and daily life, the thesis seeks to reconstruct these elements using an architectural language that consumers can perceive. Ultimately, the goal is to create an experiential space within a shopping mall that questions the nature of consumerism and teaches consumers how to recognize this manipulation in the wild.
Xiang, Xinjie, "Illusion of Consumption, Architectural Rebellion: Unraveling the Maze of Consumption" (2023). Masters Theses. 1154.
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