It’s Time to Rethink ‘Temporary’ - dynamic architecture and envirnonment - PART TWO
Allison Arieff on design and architecture
Part one of the fine overview over dynamic, pop-up achitecture gave some examples of present and past. Here are some more interesting cases of non-permanent architecture for a modern city.
The Dallas group Build a Better Block — which quickly leapt from a tiny grass-roots collective to an active partner in city endeavors — has demonstrated that when you expose weaknesses, change happens. If their temporary interventions violate existing codes, Build a Better Block just paints a sign informing passers-by of that fact. They have altered regulations in this fashion. Sometimes — not always — bureaucracy gets out of the way and allows for real change to happen.
Markets and shops try out non-permanent architecture
And they are. Brooklyn’s De Kalb Market, for example, was supposed to be in place for just three years, but became a neighborhood center where there hadn’t been much of one before. “People gravitated towards it,” says Lydon. “People like going there. You run the risk of people lamenting the loss of that. The developer would be smart to integrate things like the community garden — [giving residents an] opportunity to keep growing food on the site. The radio station could get a permanent space. The beer garden could be kept.”
Affordable housing and urban development
San Francisco’s PROXY project is similar. Retail, restaurants and cultural spaces housed within an artful configuration of shipping containers, designed by Envelope Architecture and Design, were given a five-year temporary home on government-owned vacant lots in the city’s Hayes Valley neighborhood while developers opted to sit tight during the recession. Affordable housing is promised for the site; the developers will now be able to create it in a neighborhood that has become increasingly vibrant and pedestrian-friendly.
Interventions with impact
She’s right. And one doesn’t have to search for examples of temporary projects that not only failed but did so catastrophically (see: Hurricane Katrina trailers, for example). A huge reason for tactical urbanism’s appeal relates to politics. As one practitioner put it, “We’re doing these things to combat the slowness of government.”
But all of this is more than a response to bureaucracy; at its best it’s a bold expression of unfettered thinking and creativity … and there’s certainly not enough of that going around these days. An embrace of the temporary and tactical may not be perfect, but it could be one of the strongest tools in the arsenal of city-building we’ve.
Teaserfoto: Airstream: History of the Land Yacht, Foto 1: Shigeru Ban, Foto 2: Michelle Gross, Courtesy DeKalb Market, Foto 3: Starkinsider