I could say YES is a good topic. But as I see that doubt you have on the investment issue, is the climax of you research, as you put it "that money well spent" or as I see it, that excessive waist of money for this times, that we need to look back what surround us, our world will all that happens: earthquakes, hurricanes, surami, etc.
We as architects could be more concern on trying to look for solutions for that.
That my opinion, hope it helps you.
I think it's a good topic and worthy of serious research. If Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown can look at the vernacular condition in Las Vegas, then why shouldn't current retail approaches be worthy of research? It touches on a number of areas; corporate brand identity, the cult of celebrity including celebrity architects, globalisation and the relationship of the stores to local cultural and architectural context. I think there is enough "meat" in the topic for you to get your teeth into, but you better check with your tutors.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for your feedback guys.
I am going to crack on!!
I think this is an excellent topic for a dissertation. There are issues of design and culture and context and image and utility.
Surely an introductory survey section that gathers in one place information on a representative sampling of flagship stores by country, by industry (the genre goes well beyond the fashion industry), by who designed them, by when they were built would be interesting to read, in and of itself.
And a case-by-case critical analysis of how the architectural design works (or doesn't) to reinforce the brand and further the client's business would be worthy.
However, I don't know if such an architecture masters degree dissertation ought to go into the discussion of whether money invested in a flagship store is money well spent. A flagship store is one of many different media and brand reinforcement strategies on which a company will spend their marketing budget. The allocation of monies among different media and among various strategies for brand reinforcement is more art than quantifiable science.
I would be concerned that including such an analysis in your dissertation might weaken your more architecturally-oriented work and that this one aspect could become a lightning rod that robs attention from the rest of your investigation.
I have though up three more strands;
1) The notion of the 'third space'... whic by my best definition and understanding is things like the Chanel Mobile Art Pavillion by Zaha Hadid. So spaces that are not shops but still try to create that emotional bond with the consumer.
2) Digressing a little... Brandhubs... More about corporate identity that fashion/retail... but this is about companies designing whole landscapes / urban design.
3) A guy/architect called Peter Marino... Apparently he is fashions favourite architect... but before today, I hadn't heard of him. This guy is jsut very lucky and well connected. It would not be very valuable to research or assess his works though.
I should probably try and research something meaningful and beneficial to the world!
I think that your original topic was great. You have a lot of information, material, and opinions; you can make it as extent as you want. And I'm sure it will be meaningful and beneficial.
But on the other hand. The notion of the third space, sounds good too.
Just like the theme of a class is not as important as the teacher, your theme will be as good as your approach. Any theme can be of interest and value. You need to be sure of yourself. Your interests are worthy, go to the core of the issues that you are interested in within this theme. You will find it of value.
I find that these dissertations should not limit their theme to what some people understand is "architecture". I find architecture to be more interesting if you sink deeper asking questions. Asking the right questions is the most important thing. Why do brands exist? Why did this happen? Where is the money? How important are the social connections? What are the market tendencies? What is the purpose of the customer? What has gone wrong? What has gone right? There is already a lot of superficial architectural writing, we do not need more.
The kind of thinking in many thesis programs that limits the view of what architecture is without dwelling into it's connections into the economic, social, scientific, technical studies is backward. We need to integrate and work with other lines of thought. Be open. Recognize your limitations, but do not just stay within the philosophical and artistic.