News and Opinion

Designing high-impact mall façades that drive footfall and enhance shopper comfort

 Permanent link   All Posts

M KitsonOn Tuesday 25 February, Matt Kitson, Hilson Moran’s regional director at its Qatar office, spoke at the 6th Façade Design & Engineering Summit held at Oryx Rotana Hotel in Doha, about the retail sector and the impact that façade design has on footfall and dwell time in shopping malls in the GCC region.

Matt’s talk focused on: 

  • Establishing how to develop façades that will optimise comfort within outdoor shopping malls such as glass covers, CFC studies, and façade engineering solutions
  • Designing a mall façade that efficiently maximises indoor daylight to enhance the shopper experience 
  • Examining the aesthetics of mall façades and how to achieve the appearance of luxury

Matt Kitson said: “Two key areas that tend to get overlooked when designing malls are thermal and visual comfort. Malls are designed to maintain air temperature; however comfort is derived from a number of factors. For internal spaces, these are air temperature, the impact of solar gain on surfaces and air speed.

“Daylight is also an important factor; it can significantly drive footfall and increase dwell time. Independent research shows that stores with daylight can increase sales by 40 percent, reduce operating costs, and provide better employee satisfaction. By understanding these two, it provides greater opportunities for designers going forward.”

“There are readily available sophisticated modelling tools now available to design consultants that allow us to quickly study and optimise occupant thermal and visual comfort and demonstrate the benefits to developers”

The Avenues 500“We can also learn a great deal from traditional historic architectural designs such as the old souks that carefully use street width and height to minimise solar gain and embrace mashrabiya shading to protect from the sun whilst providing a healthy level of daylight to the shopper”.

A scheme that Hilson Moran has worked on that demonstrates this approach is ‘The Avenues’; an 835,000 sq m shopping mall in Kuwait. Hilson Moran worked with architects Gensler on phase three, creating a grand avenue designed to have a good balance of thermal and visual comfort. It was achieved through the design of a lightweight roof made of a three-layer ETFE, Hilson Moran used its in-house Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) modelling and energy analysis on the proposed design and building services systems.


Please leave a comment
Name *
Email *


Marketing Department

T: +44 (0)20 7940 8888