KLAUS R. KUNZMANN
Emeritus, TU Dortmund University, Germany
Arcades are covered passageways with shops, stalls, cafés, or restaurants, usually in the front of private and public buildings in high-density inner-city quarters of European and some Asian cities. They protect shop owners and their goods, customers, residents, and flâneurs from sun and rain. The name stems from the architectural term “arcade,” which describes a series of columns or pillars forming a gallery or a colonnade. In Roman times the architectural form of the arcade was also used in more functional buildings, such as aqueducts or city gates.
The idea of the arcade and the passageway goes back to the covered oriental market (souk). Early arcades were built in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Such oriental markets can still be found in cities like Sana'a in Yemen, Bursa in Turkey, Marrakech in Morocco, and Aleppo in Syria. From there, the architectural feature spread around the world. They were particularly popular in Italy and in other Mediterranean regions of Europe. They can also be found in other regions of the world – for example, in North Africa, Latin America, and even in China and Taiwan.
Arcades represent the transition space between public and private spaces. They are buffer zones between private spheres and public representation. The pathway under the arcade is public, while the spaces behind the pathway are private. Arcades reflect city building regulations, established ...