stuttgart market hall
Market halls are remarkable structures. Many have survived two world wars and drastic changes in the urban landscape. Yet, their role in the life of the city, while precarious, continues to be invaluable. Market halls are public spaces: vital places of social and economic activity. They are vibrant neighbourhood focal points and retail sites for small vendors and local food producers. The viability of the market hall as civic institution and public space tells us something about the societies we live in and the rituals that mark our daily lives. With its diverse character, the market hall can be more than simply an up-scale alternative to the supermarket.

In one definition, a market hall implies a gathering place where people buy and sell food or livestock. It is a public space shaped by economic competition and social interaction. As architectural sites within the social geography of the city, market halls signify civic structures around which the communal life of the city developed. According to the ethnologist Dankó Imre:

“In the life of a people… the market and marketplace serves not only strictly as a place where the exchange of goods is settled but directly and indirectly influences the entire life of the individual and the community.”