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[Keynote] The Future of Industrial is the Past of the Shopping Mall

October 8, 2020 from 1:30pm to 2:30pm Central Standard Time

Courtois Auditorium

Jeffrey Brown, FAIA, FTCA

Tilt wall will fuel the next 48 months of the only growing real estate sector during Covid – e-commerce.

We were looking at how to understand the thinking going on in the marketplace about the future of industrial, and decided to take a different track on a less speculative and more practical, or applied, research. We have seen the “future” of industrial buildings defined by verticality, robotics and drones in purported “research” for the last seven years. It didn't seem that futuristic any more to us.

There was a phenomenon running in the background however that did portend of things to come. Amazon had been quietly buying shopping malls since 2016.

We speculated that whatever Amazon was doing itself was perhaps far more important than what everyone else was trying to do to Amazon. So, we created a toolkit through BIM modeling of the physical elements in e-commerce building types, types used by Amazon and many other e-commerce players. All of these building types are designed to be built with tilt wall. They all index speed. They all rely upon a system of construction that is easily adaptable and flexible.

We then administered them to several shopping malls in a series of controlled case studies as additions and invasions, ran cost model and general conditions evaluations, and discovered that something special was at work.


  • Understand where the market is headed.

  • Be more literate about why the market is moving the way it is.

  • Get a jump on planning and marketing around this new phenomenon.

  • Understand the potential for tilt wall's application.

©Michael Galinsky, The Decline of Mall Civilization

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