Sunday, August 1, 2021



In future years the younger folks might be nostalgic as they reminisce about the supposed fun and convenience of down San Diego's Horton Plaza Shopping Center before it eventually became a dead mall, now being repurposed as office space for tech companies. 

The truth of the matter is that even in its prime, it was an alienated space, full of architectural distractions, detours, and dead ends that seemed designed to magnify your unease and increase your desire to escape your sense of uselessness by exhausting your credit limit and begging creditors for an increase in your credit line.

 I  worked there for several years as a bookseller and made my number one spot to see new movies. Over time you couldn't help by note the waning numbers of people coming to the Plaza, the number of stores advertising off-Holiday Sales with things up to 70 percent off, the closing of stores, and the draping of butcher paper over the display windows with a sad sign promising a new retailer coming in soon, watching the calendar pages fly away and noting again the stores were still vacant and that more stores had joined them.

Horton Plaza had become an empty series of angular paths, walkways, bridges to more locked up storefronts, a structural case of architectural schizophrenia where all the eaves, overhangs, arches, and such unusual twists cast deep, despairing shadows over the dead concrete, few have reason to walk.

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