This multi-level city centre mall is one of Vilnius’s first modern retail developments and while it is still performing well and maintaining a good array of international and regional brands the owners recognized that for it to retain its place in the market a rejuvenation of the interior design and commercial offer would be required as newer and larger mall were constructed elsewhere in the city. HCM was appointed to undertake this task and looked at a variety of planning and design options to maximise commercial potential while minimsing the impact on existing tenants.
Even during construction of the mall it was recognized that its retail-focused design would not be a sustainable model in the long-term, expansion to become a more broadly-based mixed-use scheme would be necessary. The introduction of Belarus’s first indoor sky-diving centre operated by iFLY, placed in a very prominent location on the front of the building, was the first step in creating a leisure / adventure sports offer to diversify the appeal of the site.
The core of this project is the creation of a central atrium / mall space to link two adjoining existing buildings located between the commercial heart and historic dock areas of the Estonian capital. These are the Postimaja Mall, converted from the Soviet-era Central Post Office building, and Coca Cola Plaza a large 11-screen cinema development from the early 2000s. While the two buildings have a synergy of uses and customer-base they are currently separate entities that do not interact with each other or their surroundings.
Starting from a layout prepared by a local architect HCM was tasked with reviewing commercial practicality as well as enhancing pedestrian flows through and around the unified site. Integration of non-retail uses such as healthcare facilities and office accommodation were also key. The latter being organized as a floating structure above the atrium with timber-clad boat-like styling to its soffit.
We may, at long last, be in sight of a post-Covid world but perhaps the lock-down period, where our lives were dramatically curtailed, provided us with the necessary time to reflect on the challenges of climate change and the actions that generate our individual carbon footprints. Even when this pandemic is over, we should all learn to live with less.
It is unlikely that we will be able to consume and travel as much as we have done if we want to protect ourselves and our planet.