Stonestown Galleria - San Francisco
Problems with my iphone took me to the Apple Store in the Stonestown Galleria on 19th Avenue near Lake Merced. Coming out of the escalator I snapped this picture of the main galleria atrium. Built in 1952, Stonestown was the first shopping mall in San Francisco and one of the first in California. Typical of the mall design of 1950's, you could drive and park next to the stores and here was no interior pedestrian street that is common in malls today. The pedestrian atrium above was formerly a "street" with parking.
Fading in popularity, Stonestown Shopping Mall was completely redesigned in 1987 enclosing the street with a sky-lit pedestrian area and re-christened the Stonestown Galleria. Its a popular alternative to downtown shopping for people traveling on the west side of town. Located next to San Francisco State University, Lowell High School and across the street from Mercy High School, it's a popular hang out for teens.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - Milan
You might think the sky-lit atrium shopping mall was a 20th century invention, but it has been done before and done quite well. Perhaps the most compelling is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan where the main axis fronts on the main square in Milan -- the Piazza del Duomo with the Teatra alla Scala on the other side of the piazza. Built in 1861, the industrial revolution in Europe made light airy cast iron steel structures like this possible. Inspired by this magnificent space, architects designed new "Gallerias" everywhere. This is the original.