Alleyways, parking lots, and backyards in the neighborhoods are unused and unrecognized by pedestrians passing through. These spaces exist as inhabitable sites near one of Washington Park's busiest streets. The architectural character of the area is attractive to businesses and customers alike. As a result, this project proposes a long term plan that suggests ways to transform the fallow spaces between buildings into productive and useful spaces.
Most buildings on Vliet Street can be divided into three parts—front, middle and back. For more on the internal morphology of multi-use duplex buildings see here and here. Based on this formal layout, this project experiments with shifting side (load bearing) walls or creating internal infill walls to reapportion the existing interior spaces. For instance, the drawings below suggest locations to push exterior walls towards the building's center in order to create more public spaces along the passageways. The three examples shown here show just a few ways a building can be transformed in order to create public spaces in the vacant zones between buildings.
A New Courtyard
Looking at the potential of these new public spaces, two buildings with a courtyard in their central zone were placed side-by-side to see what would happen in the space if used as a public courtyard between businesses. The result was a space that remained active all day up until the wee hours of the morning. The courtyard could host a sculpture garden. During the day visitors could enjoy the artwork, while at night live music and a locally made food would keep the space alive.