FROM THE AGORA TO THE VIRTUAL GROCERY SHOP

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We have started the ball rolling for our final competition and we are determined to push for really cracking results that will celebrate and promote the spirit of Non Architecture! The jury members have all been officially confirmed, and we made sure that you won’t be disappointed – more on them in one of the next newsletters!

So, picking up on our theme from its very origins, let’s find out how shopping evolved so that we have now ended up with the virtual reality super market and the giant car vending machines!

1 – One of the first architectural typologies of marketplaces is the Ancient Greek agora, which originally functioned as a place of assembly and political debate. Its descendant is the Roman forum which further evolved and encompassed all business and administrative activities of Ancient Rome.

2 – Could you think of contemporary examples that resemble ancient agoras/forums? This article claims to draw principles of design from these archetypical typologies that can be applied in urban areas of the US that serve as public marketplaces.

3 – Moving through the centuries, we see trade thriving around the world and ambitious traders reaching the other side of the world to find exotic treasuries. Constantinople was the epicenter of trade in the Mediterranean, renowned for its markets that flooded the city.

4 – Shifting our gaze to Northern Europe, Ian Mortimer will take you on a shopping trip in a 14th-century English marketplace.

5 – And because if you were succesful merchant, nothing could bring you down, so there are some shops that have survived the centuries.

6 – In the nineteenth century, many people, for whom the access to the shops which usually concentrated in the big urban centers was difficult and costly, relied on the order catalogue which substituted the visit to a physical shop. But the catalog is a lot order than you think with the first one appearing in 1492 in Venice!

7 – At the turn of the millennium a new type of shop appeared: the online shop. Although most of us automatically think of Amazon that rose in the 1990s, there was indeed a predecessor which first appeared as early as 1979.

8 – To recap – and if you were bored to read and just skimmed this email and got here – have a look at this infographic. It will give you a general idea of the ways that shopping has evolved during the centuries.

So, tracing its historical transformation from the agora to the virtual grocery shop, we can see that the concept of the shop has been going through major transformations that reflect the needs and values of every era. So how do you think the shop of the future will be?

Till next week!

All the best,
Mariza