Public Space Redesign

Project: Public Space Redesign

This sustainable design project is a continuation of the empathy analysis project site: Route 66 Plaza Winslow Arizona.

  • Studied the site form and how it affects the way we use space.
  • Applied empathy analysis to the redesign of a public space.
  • Created a  final scaled drawing in Illustrator and built a model/prototype of the design.
  • Adapted project through iterations of sketching and prototyping.

Site Program

When the building burned in 2004 the city transformed it into a performance plaza and town center for locals. The adjacent park, Standing on the Corner Park, is the key tourist attraction but there is little circulation between the two parks thanks to the iconic wall. The goal of this redesign is to create better circulation between the two spaces, increase seating, vendor space, and overall give texture and beauty—while playing on the theme of ruins and history.

The model of the 9000 square foot site was built on 30 x 20 foam board at quarter inch scale. In addition to foam board, I used bamboo sticks, copper wire, styrofoam, felt, and cotton pads. The side walls of the former buildings that create the boundaries are twenty-three feet and it seems most buildings in town are that same height, so I also made the façade 23’ tall, and 25’ wide, which is the standard lot size. The trees when leafed are about that same height. Also, there are no setbacks, so I put the façade up to the sidewalk to mimic the rest of downtown. There are so many empty lots now, so it would be nice to have the infill mimic the original. I also made the solar structures on either front side 25’.

The façade serves a few purposes beyond providing infill: It provides a photo op. You can stand in the door as my 6’ model is. The plaza name will be over the doorway, or you can sit in the windows, either from the front which is two feet from the ground, or on the backside benches which are 18”. The top transoms have solar panels at a 35 degree angle. Scattered throughout the plaza are large boulders native to the area, perfect for sitting on. This figure sitting on the rock is 5’5” in ¼ inch, so you can see how big they are.

The solar shade structures which bookend the street-front mirror the stage and would make great vendor spaces. Plus, there are the tire swings to grab attention from people driving by on Route 66. There are a variety of seating types throughout the plaza, from traditional benches, to recycled plastic hexagon tree benches, to picnic tables.

To increase circulation between the plaza and the Standing on the Corner Park, an arched doorway through the wall separating the Plaza from the Standing on the Corner Park has been added. On either side, are planters made of historic brick, which is carried out with each column of the wall, creating little rooms for people to picnic.

Facing the stage is this amphitheater. Currently, people bring their own chairs and set up in the grass. I kept grassy areas, but also now have seating for people who perhaps just happen by the event. Planted along the curved upper amphitheater wall, will be native plants. Ideally, I see this amphitheater made again of historic brick, and not being perfect, but more reflecting the concept of artistic ruin.

To the west side of the plaza is the food truck pad, with an adjacent picnic area. Trucks can easily access this pad from the alley behind the park. This is where they currently park, but a dedicated pad with power and pretty lighting would refine it. And with the solar panels, there should be enough energy created for the park to be self-sufficient.

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