Good public space on a creative campus should be dynamic, flexible and extremely accessible, allowing for maximum possibilities of activity and creative expression.
The current built environment of the HIDA campus contains the essential elements that make up public space – shade, variety of seating, plazas. Yet, the public space is not designed. It is the left over space and appears little thought was given as to how it would be used, if at all. The buildings are closed off, the circulation is inefficient, the ecological presence is minimal, the public spaces are not being used near capacity.
The “gateway” parking lot at university and mill and the 10th street parking structure are prime examples of the types of public space found in HIDA, ASU and the city of Phoenix. The challenge is to re-iterate a great public space in this “gateway” for both HIDA and ASU that is dynamic, flexible and extremely accessible by utilizing the available elements at hand to allow the site to reach its maximum potential.
In seeing the latent potential of the elements on the site, the need was to create a highly iterative process that could capture this huge potential by looking at the elements both individually and collectively through an extremely analytical and abstract methodology.
The existing parking lot and parking structure horizontal elements were quantified as either ground surfaces or potential canopies. A series of diagrams were developed to locate each of the elements in their current layout. These showed the fatal flaw of the current “design”. Everything was disconnected and isolated. There was little to no diversity of material. A parking lot was asphalt, a sidewalk was concrete, the trees were in the residual spaces.
Another set of diagrams were created to show the maximum coverage of each of the elements based on the force of circulation. This led to a new public space that was both fluid and different. Lastly, parking was reintroduced to the site, refocusing the elements to adapt to this required program. This shift creates meaning to the patterns and flows of the site, allowing the new space to reach its maximum potential through a reiteration that utilizing only what is found on site.