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The first American mall, Southdale, opened in Edina, Minnesota, in October 1956, and while the standard mall design has since become a cliche, at the time it was a revolutionary setup that brought comfort to a nation fearing nuclear war. Curbed National has the story of Victor Gruen, an Austrian-born architect whose design for Southdale was inspired by governmental and military institutions. Southdale spread across 810,000 square feet and could house the entire population of the Twin Cities in the event of a nuclear attack. [Curbed National]