2014 // Downtown Salt Lake City, UT, USA // masterplan - urban preservation // competition
w/ Stevens Frank
How do you respect a city’s expression, while completely transforming its identity? The answer is Urban MakeUp.
Big changes start with transformed external appearances. A sophisticated façade configuration and an extravagant character are missing in Salt Lake City. ‘Epidermic’ proposes both those changes for the creative nucleus blocks sixty-nine and seventy.
The proposal reinvents the unused façade membranes of the site´s internal grid through a series of make-up operations. Creates thus, a new facade mannerism that will characterize Salt Lake city’s nascent art district. The goal is to dress the intricate urban alleys of this important neighborhood with innovative materials that are more often found at the interior design scale. When inserted at the urban scale, these materials promote a multiplicity of uses for a reinvented urban space thereby initiating a new neighborhood condition. A space that will become the best kept secret of the city.
First we locate the existing in between spaces with potential for epidermic alteration. Then a new grid subdivision breaks the existing block size into smaller urban configurations. The new proposed programs generate art micro-incubators clustered around linearly controlled areas. The themes include: the vapor alley, the empty canvas district, the reflective alley, the projection district and the texture line among others. These areas relate to the block´s connecting paths and are represented by new façade prototypes that explore expressiveness through texture, color, luminance, reflectivity, rigidity or morphological characteristics.
Two symbolic skins are inserted in the design in order to address the shifting tension between blocks sixty-nine and seventy. At the Kilowatt Commons Park, in block sixtynine, we design a mobile tensile structure with a horseshoe shaped plan representing a gateway into the new urban complex, while sheltering various artistic and social events of an ephemeral condition. At block seventy, the proposal entails a reconfiguration of the mammoth parking building located at Regent Street with Orpheum Avenue. Its roof top floor is converted into a green-house hub where agriculture culture is thought from an artistic perspective. Both new programs happen in strategic points within the block creating the necessary poles of attraction to make the new alley network dynamic for a new unexpected growth.