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g rin ve co un

an investigation into dimensions of the city


an investigation into dimensions of the city

Uncovering Potential

Kansas City Design Center Urban Studio 2010 The University of Kansas & Kansas State University


contents

This book was written and designed by Karina Leung, Benjamin Busch, and Allison Gould with direction from Vladimir Krstic, Kansas State University professor in architecture. On behalf of all the members of the 2009-2010 Kansas City Design Center (KCDC) Urban Studio, we would like to thank the community partners that make the Center’s presence in downtown Kansas City possible through their charitable contributions and professional support.


foreword by VLADIMIR KRSTIC 7 defining the city WHAT IS KANSAS CITY? by RACHEL DUNCAN 12

SOLID/VOID/VACANCY by KARINA LEUNG & BENJAMIN BUSCH

seeing the city

morphological dissections

spatial perception

33

25

manifestations of the temporal

49

envisioning the city

approaching architecture by RACHEL DUNCAN

restructuring the grid

70

66

Urban Corridor: Walnut Street Reactivating the Crossroads by Amy Kinderknecht Urban Infill: Crossroads District

88

connecting places

Urban Node: Washington Square Park Urban Deck: School/Parking Garage/Bridge Urban Aquatics Center Driving By: The Design and Experience of Triangle Park by Shannon Williams Urban Folly: Triangle Park

programming change

116

Adaptive Urban Space Community Space: Mixed-Income Housing Public Education: Civic Space and Middle School Urban Farmstead

Redefining Public

132

City Interface: Multi-Modal Transit Hub Public/Parking: Temporary Urban Space

reflections 147 notes 148

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This publication is an attempt to generate a summary perspective of two semesters of study and work in the urban design studio at the Kansas City Design Center. The pedagogical premise of the studio was to use Kansas City as a ‘live in’ urban laboratory for focusing and engaging critical urban design issues and in doing so illuminate contextual understanding of the purpose and the meaning of the subject of design.

foreword

The studio brief issued to students was titled Urban Chess: Stratagems for Critical Maneuvers. It opposed the nostalgia of optimum density and built up grid desires that subside on the official master plans to the city ‘as is’ of vacant building-turned-parking-lots and laissez-faire urban morphology, asking them to find in that intersection a seed of a true city and within it discover a more viable possibilities for design interventions that can make difference. In order to do so students first had to develop methods for ‘peering’ into the obvious and dissecting it so that they could see that what was hiding in the plain view—the city ‘as is’ but this time as an artifact, a physical object ‘par excellence’ as Aldo Rossi termed it. Whatever was pulled apart and disassembled we have tried to [re]arrange back together, seeking redeeming possibilities while walking the DMZ grounds of urban design theory looking for critical insights into the epitome of the Midwestern city, or for that matter the contemporary city. Our quest was greatly helped by many guest critics from the ranks of Kansas City practitioners, communal stakeholders and fellow academics. In the end the studies and ideas presented here, beyond their own individual design merit, constitute a wealth of possibilities which are yet to be fully explored. In that are their true merit, resonance and the obligation of continuity they pass on to those who taught them. This publication was in its entirety conceived and put together by students, and all work and writings presented here belong to them. Many of them labored much past the completion of their academic obligations to see this record come through. My debt of gratitude goes to Allison Gould, Benjamin Busch, and above all Karina Leung without whose devotion, tenacity, and perseverance our studio book would not have happened. Thank you.

–VLADIMIR KRSTIC U N C O VERING P OTENTIAL

7


development of kansas city

1956 I-70 CONSTRUCTED I-29 CONSTRUCTED

1970 I-35 CONSTRUCTED

1990 I-670 CONSTRUCTED I-35 RE-ROUTED

2001 US-71 CONSTRUCTED

The River Market, Downtown Loop, Crossroads Arts District, and Crown Center comprise the core of Kansas City. The character of each district is distinct, but the primary public buildings in Kansas City are situated along the north-south corridor of Main Street, Walnut Street, and Grand Boulevard.

8 U N COV ERING P OTENTIAL


COLUMBUS PARK

RIVER MARKET

N

City Market

Central Public Library

WEST BOTTOMS

Federal Courthouse

DOWNTOWN LOOP

PASEO WEST City Hall

Convention Center

Power and Light District

Sprint Center

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts Kemper Arena

WESTSIDE

American Royal

18TH & VINE

CROSSROADS ARTS DISTRICT Freight House

HOSPITAL HILL Union Station

CROWN CENTER Liberty Memorial

LONGFELLOW


Despite the physical presence of a city and its delineation in space, a city is much more than a tangible object. The term “city� connotes individual experiences and knowledge, which are used to construct a qualitative understanding. Each city is a unique amalgamation of its history, people, infrastructure, and architecture. It is from these elements that a collective conscious emerges, defining the city.


defining THE CITY


what is kansas city? RACHEL DUNCAN

Does Kansas City belong to Kansas or Missouri? Is it the location, the geographical realities that make up this—or any—city? Does its broad relation to the rest of the world or universe have anything to do with one’s perception of it? Or should one simply take into account those few events and places which one encounters? (i.e. Those in which one lives, dines, or holds conversations.) It seems that anything beyond that which is directly experienced is hearsay, and therefore a pseudo-reality requiring research or the trust in some form of media or peers. However, it is virtually impossible to experience an entire city—every part of it and all its possibilities and opportunities. One is left with only an individual interpretation, be it from one day’s or fifty years’ experience. This is the beauty of the city; it is so alive, dense, and complex that it fuels the lives of millions of people at once. It participates on tremendously different scales of involvement and significance, and therefore exists as layers of concurrent, yet ever-changing realities. So in attempt to define a city—a decidedly complex and dynamic organism—where does one start? I find Aldo Rossi’s writings in The

12 D EFINING TH E CITY


Architecture of the City especially compelling. I am able to grasp Rossi’s theories about the city and and see examples of his ideas in the organism evolving around me, Kansas City. Rossi understands the issues an American city faces and he allows for a framework by which one can understand a city beyond the simple encounters one has with it, regardless of if they occur over only one day, a few weeks, or a lifetime. What can be particularly helpful in the endeavor of defining the American city, and in this case, Kansas City, is recognition of the necessity to remember the past. Understanding that “with time, the city grows upon itself; it acquires a consciousness and memory”1 does not require a personal experiential understanding to realize the effects historical ideals have on what the city currently is. Regardless of what used to be, all that currently exists are signs of collective will which endured the destruction, demolition, and change of use that occur over time in a city. These permanent characteristics are evident in the artifacts that contribute to the image of the city. “The urban image, its architecture, pervades…and invests all of man’s inhabited and constructed realm with value. It arises inevitably because it is so deeply rooted in the human condition.”2 We must take into account its physical form, but also its ability to contain and remind inhabitants of its ancient qualities.

Party walls contain a residue of the past; a building that once stood on the site of an empty lot may be reconstructed in the mind.

“The city is in its history,”3 a history that is alive and present. Therefore, there is “meaning to give permanences: they are a past that we are still experiencing.”4 Especially in a city as young as Kansas City, people need something to understand about the past, something that makes them feel grounded. There is something about moving into a newly constructed house, in a brand new neighborhood, between two empty houses still looking for

13


owners, versus moving into, or back into, the house built by the hands of your great-grandparents. Here, possessing some respect for the history makes you feel every nail and imagine the stories told on the front porch. To me, this is what a city is like—it has depth. As one can see the mark of a demolished building along the side of one still standing, the depth grows deeper. But as stated before, one does not need to have seen the previous building there, or watched their great-grandfather hammer the nail in, to feel the value of history, thought, or of some purpose for why it was there. With this realized framework for sensing permanent, lasting realities of a place, I can begin to define one layer of the city as it exists to me. One of the most experientially-rich and defining areas of Kansas City is the River Market district, because it is there that I sense the memory of a diverse, expansive city. While I do not possess a personal memory of such a time when trading was actually taking place along the river, I can certainly recognize its remainder in the market, along the streets, amidst the traces of change and consistency. I value this entire district as an urban artifact because of its ability to imply “not only a physical thing in the city, but all of its history, geography, structure, and connection with general life of the city.”5 It is a physical location, yet it holds a personality of coming together, sharing, and experiencing differences. Remarkably not overtaken by chain venders and gas stations, the district Kansas City’s rich history as a center for trade and agriculture is hinted at in a colorful array of produce at the City Market in the historic River Market district.

remains personal and individual. There are few places I have ventured through this city in which a simple building tie or an inadvertent contrast of colors has made me lose my train of thought mid-sentence. Had these small details not called for my attention, in effect they would not exist at all. Some other

14 D EFINING TH E CITY


element (perhaps more obvious or mediated) could have formed or limited my personal image of the district and the city, yet the Market is flooded with detail, variety, and acceptance of other cultures and lifestyles. This multiplicity is the critical foundation of the ideal American city. Therefore, it is a significantly defining artifact of Kansas City, one that undoubtedly exists beyond my layer of interaction, and would be conspicuous in its absence. Granted, I realize the necessity to also envision the makeup of the city beyond historical ideals and attractive areas full of character. For instance, following Steven Holl’s example of defining the physical reality of the American city through “the spatial field between buildings…The individual building [or artifact] does not monopolize one’s thoughts. Concentration is on the relationships between buildings: the terrain, the sky, light, axes of movement.”6 While this is important, especially to an architect, I believe the emotions and suggestions that these created spatial relationships provide should be related to the historical emotions and suggestions that continue to prevail throughout the various artifacts of the city.

1. Aldo Rossi, The Architecture of the City (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1982), 21. 2. Ibid., 27. 3. Ibid., 34. 4. Ibid., 59. 5. Ibid., 22. 6. Steven Holl, “Within the City: Phenomena of Relations,” Design Quarterly 139 (1988): 7.

w h a t is k a n s a s c it y ?

15


solid/void/ vacancy

KARINA LEUNG & BENJAMIN BUSCH Borne of idealism, the American City was conceived as

a rational “other” to the chaotic cities of Europe. The pursuit of democracy and tabula rasa of the American landscape provided the nascent discipline of urban planning the opportunity to apply Enlightenment principles to the development of new urban settlements. The street grid became an equalizing matrix whose egalitarianism was impossible to realize in the established cities of Europe. The Land Ordinance of 1785 parsed the infinite extension of the United States into digestible one-mile blocks via the inscription of the Jeffersonian grid. The mile became the unit of measure for space, commodifying the country’s most abundant natural resource—land. In this fledgling democracy, every man now had the opportunity to own land. Implicit in this notion of ownership, was his right to do as he wished with his land, for “After life and liberty, ‘the third absolute right…is that of property.’”1 Thus property rights, guaranteeing individual freedom, became the dominant force in shaping American cities. Within the homogeneity of the street grid, these rights were exercised, resulting in buildings conceived as objects for definition

16 D EFINING TH E CITY


against a uniform backdrop. “The grid neither legislates nor limits the sort of building or activity that will occupy any particular segment of the city; the spaces it designates are free to develop in a variety of ways. The grid merely coordinates spaces and thus provides one space with access to all the others.”2 While the American city is highly organized in plan, this order is incomprehensible from the perspective of the street. SOLID AND VOID Two opposites, solid and void, are commonly used to define the physical incarnation of the city but are semantically deceptive. Solid implies consistent mass but means finite space and its enclosure, while void implies fluid emptiness but means defined yet infinite space. If the traditional European city is defined by spaces carved into its inhabitable poché and the Modern city is understood as a relationship between the architectural object and its collectively owned natural space,3 then Kansas City exists somewhere in between. Rather than spaces defined by the typological uniformity of street walls, “the scattered pattern was always potentially readable”4 in the American city. Composed as a system of trafficways and parking lots littered with buildings, the American city is read as objects-in-field. This condition is problematic because “when figure is unsupported by any recognizable frame of reference, it can only become enfeebled and selfdestructive.”5 Such objects-in-void stand aloof as wholly

Figure-ground drawings of Barcelona (top) and Kansas City (bottom) show a marked difference in the role of solid and void in each city.

self-referring eccentricities rather than being an element of the urban fabric. As a quintessentially Midwestern city, Kansas City is expressed by a figure-ground image that more closely

17


Even as its program has changed, Kansas City’s Union Station remains an entrance to the city

18 D EFINING TH E CITY


resembles a chessboard than one of a Renaissance or Modernist city. It will never offer the continuously defined space of a European city nor the complete openness of a Modernist city. However, the irregularity of development within the Midwestern city results in serendipitous spaces and exceptional frames of reference. dynamic SPACE It is in section where the American city finds form; urban space emerges from “vertical groupings, terrestrial shifts, elongated slots of light, bridges and vertical penetrations of a fixed horizontal.”6 These conditions transform static monoliths into ethereal backdrops as one traverses the city. The rapid succession of novel stimuli, and the dialogue between foreground and background form the experience of the gridded city. The dynamic quality of the city extends beyond facades. Just as the shape of the city is in a constant state of transformation, so is its function; however the changes do not necessarily correlate. Because the constructed urban environment contains within itself the identities of its past and present inhabitants—as well as inviting imagination about the future—certain urban artifacts persist, retaining continuity of identity while allowing for the natural evolution of a city to occur. Some of these urban artifacts maintain permanence and become monuments, regardless of the multiple functions that may reside within a particular building.7 Union Station has maintained a prominent presence as a monument that houses the ritual of arriving in Kansas City. In the past, the building was a regional train station and the first impression for visitors to the city; now, the building is used for exhibition and operates primarily as a tourist destination (in addition to housing offices and a rail terminal). With its stately architecture, Union Station has preserved the notion of the grand introduction to a city, even as its function has changed. so l i d /v o id /v a c a n c y

19


VACANCY Union Station’s transition may be attributed to the abandonment of local rail travel in favor of personal automobiles during the post-war economic boom. The correlating suburban sprawl, which relocated much of the population from the urban core to surrounding areas in cities across the United States, marked a turning point in many Midwestern cities. Without the strength to attract enough new residents and businesses that larger and more diverse cities had, Midwestern cities steadily deteriorated. The empty lots and skeletal remains of what existed prior created a condition of vacancy. Whereas void is the absence of form, vacancy is the absence of presence. The lack of occupation denoted by vacancy has farreaching implications on a city. Private land ownership confers the right of disallowing public use of vacant lots, but does not oblige an owner to act in the best interest of the public. The effects of vacancy on the space of the city are detrimental, acting as spatial vacuums. REVITALIZATION The idea of deterritorialization, as put forth by James Corner, provides a model for completely reevaluating strategies for urban renewal: “Rather than ‘fixing’ the city through architecture, or ‘architecturalizing’ the city in order to discipline its spaces, both perspectives of power, the work of deterritorialization simply establishes the conditions for the processes of urbanism to perform and unfold in more dynamic ways.”8 By temporarily reclaiming vacant lots for public use, vacancy no longer has to be a scourge of the city. The collective ownership of the land can actually initiate renewal, as these space provide a site for the impromptu events of public life to occur. With urban renewal efforts underway in many Midwestern cities, it must be noted that the space of the city should be at the forefront of consideration; it is this space by which the city is defined, both as a formal

20 D EFINING TH E CITY


object and by public life. Quantity cannot be confused with quality in goals for revitalizing cities. Recognition of the reality of void in the Midwestern city requires strategic intervention. In the American city, public space often arises from explicit program or from the surrounding program of structures (e.g. a street that becomes a space because of the retail stores and restaurants located along it). With the movement of capital and population, space in the city may moves also. Today, it is incumbent upon designers to realize that public space should not result exclusively from capital; it needs to be able to drive capital. Kansas City mirrors other Midwestern cities in the efforts being made to reverse the deterioration of the urban core. There are myriad potential futures for the city. Current design challenges warrant unconventional strategies that relate to their physical and cultural context. Through an investigation of Kansas City, its potential will be uncovered.

1. Dana Cuff, “Community Property: Enter the Architect or, the Politics of Form,” in Slow Space, ed. Michael Bell and Sze Tsung Leong (New York: Monacelli Press, 1998), 121. 2. Joan Copjec, “The Grid and the Logic of Democracy,” in The Urban Text, ed. Mario Gandelsonas (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1991), 14. 3. Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter, Collage City (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1984), 79. 4. Mario Gandelsonas, “The Identity of the American City,” in X-Urbanism: Architecture and the American City, (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999), 45. 5. Rowe, Collage City, 64. 6. Steven Holl, “Within the City: Phenomena of Relations,” Design Quarterly 139 (1988): 7. (quoting Paul Valéry) 7. Aldo Rossi, The Architecture of the City (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1982), 22. 8. James Corner, “Landscraping,” in Stalking Detroit, ed. Georgia Daskalakis, Charles Waldheim, and Jason Young (Barcelona: Actar, 2001), 123.

so l i d /v o id /v a c a n c y

21


We used Kansas City as a case study for our investigation of the Midwestern city. To reveal the layers of Kansas City obscured by familiarity and cultural prejudice, we had to devise methodologies of inquiry to guide our rigorous examinations of the city. The extracted data were reconstructed to form our readings of the city.


seeing THE CITY


24 S EEING TH E CITY


Composite north-south section of Kansas City

morphological dissections In dissecting an object, one gains an understanding of that object’s composition—its structure and constituent elements—that a superficial examination cannot reveal. By systematically dismantling the city into pieces and reassembling these parts into new compositions, a new image of the city emerges in which the built mass of Kansas City and its topography are inextricably tied. The grid’s indifference to geography, which results in “an erasure of all such features”1 does not apply to the city in section. By withdrawing our vantage point from within the city to a position looking at it, the city becomes an object for study. Its morphology may be reduced to unbiased images of solid and void in which no distinction is made between the built form and topography of a city. The meaning we derive from the physical form of the city is fundamental to our understanding of it.

1. Joan Copjec, “The Grid and the Logic of Democracy,” in The Urban Text, ed. Mario Gandelsonas (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1991), 13.

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the city in section Sections along every street in downtown Kansas City document its changing form. A comprehensive image is formed as an “x-ray� of the city, which relates its density and distribution of mass.

26 S EEING TH E CITY


mo rph o l o g ic a l d is s e c t io n s

27


Sections along east-west streets track the morphology of Kansas City from the River Market and Downtown Loop (this page) through the Crossroads Arts District to Crown Center (opposite).

28 S EEING TH E CITY


mo rph o l o g ic a l d is s e c t io n s

29


30 S EEING TH E CITY


elevational scans Horizontal sections follow the emergence of the topography and morphology of Kansas City from the reference level of the Missouri River bank. Buildings and the ground are graphically treated the same, resulting in figure-ground drawing from discrete positions in space, acknowledging the role of the ground in forming the space of the city.

mo rph o l o g ic a l d is s e c t io n s

31


The

perceived space of Main Street extends far beyond the street itself, between buildings and down crossstreets. The resulting form is the implied space of Main Street.

spatial perception Space in the gridded city is often a by-product; it is the counterpart of buildings, the absence of mass. As opposed to the deliberate constructions of space manifested as public plazas of the Renaissance city, space in the American city is not discrete. Public space is rather a product of perception. Movement, light, texture, and mass all factor into individual constructs of space. Spatial perception results in multiplicity of representation which complements the absolute, physical form of the city. These multiple realities result in part from the means by which one engages the city. The city that is seen and felt by someone crossing through alleys and parking lots en route to his destination is wholly different from the city he experiences driving down the street at thirty-five miles-per-hour. The portrayal of space is as varied as its personal perceptions. Whether defining its boundaries or depicting its phenomenological qualities, these studies attempt to define a vague element of the city.


implied space

MAIN ST

N

In this evaluation, several spaces along Main Street were recognized as being distinct from the rest of the street. Multiple perspectives of each space were combined to create three-dimensional representations of these spaces.

34 S EEING TH E CITY


Spatial perception and development in an urban setting require a three-dimensional, sectional approach that gives primary importance to the views of perambulating residents who traverse shifting ground planes, experiencing the city from multiple frames of reference.

–Steven Holl


10th & Main Street transit plaza

Power & Light District parking lot

Main Street diversion to Walnut Street

36 S EEING TH E CITY


spa t ia l p e r c e p t io n

37


1

Kansas City is full of interstitial spaces wholly unlike one another. Elevated vantage points, formal anomalies, vast parking lots, and extended sight lines create spaces out of incidental voids in the city. This series of images depicts void spaces on Main Street and Grand Boulevard looking in towards Walnut Street (yellow).


void spaces 16

2

3

4

15 14 13

5

6

7

12 11 10 8

9

10

9 8 7 6 11

12

13

5

4 1, 2 3 14

15

16

spa t ia l p e r c e p t io n

39


1” = 50’

I-35

23rd St

ut

es

l tB

vd

1” = 50’

1” = 50’

1” = 50’

So

hw

The site of Triangle Park extends far beyond its property line. The diminutive site is part of a much larger space with much potential for the creation of a significant urban public space.


Triangle Park Site Space view boundary view extension main site supplemental site


triangle park spatial categories

S tati c S p a c e Pa s s - by S p a c e Te r m i n ati n g S p a c e

42 S EEING TH E CITY


12 11 10 9 23

8

24

25

7 6 E on 23rd St

N o n SW B l vd

5 4

5 11

6 7 8 9 10 11

9

10

12

11

6

5

4

3

2

1

0

S fro m O  ra mp

S on SW Blvd

duration of site views Many people will experience the site from an automobile. This study was an attempt to track the amount of time the site would be in view from each direction of approach. This created a hierarchy of the site based on visibility, which would inform design proposals. H i erarc hy of T i me V i ewe d

spa t ia l p e r c e p t io n

43


traffic volume 1 line = 25 cars


triangle park apertures Exiting from Interstate 35 to Southwest Boulevard; driving north on Southwest Boulevard; driving south on Southwest Boulevard; driving from 23rd Street to Southwest Boulevard

from top

spa t ia l p e r c e p t io n

45


shadow space study Triangle Park is dwarfed by a freeway overpass to the west and a billboard atop the building on the southern edge of the site. The shadows created by these structures continually modulate the boundary and experience of the site.

summer solstice june 21

1 00

2 00

3 00

winter

solstice dec 21

1 00

2 00

46 S EEING TH E CITY

3 00

4 00

5 00

6 00

7 00

8 00

9 00

10 00

11 00

12 00

4 00

5 00

6 00

7 00

8 00

9 00

10 00

11 00

12 00


13 00

14 00

15 00

16 00

17 00

18 00

19 00

20 00

21 00

22 00

23 00

0 00

13 00

14 00

15 00

16 00

17 00

18 00

19 00

20 00

21 00

22 00

23 00

0 00

spa t ia l p e r c e p t io n

47


A comparison of Kansas City’s population (blue) with its built mass (gray).

48 S EEING TH E CITY


With time, the city grows upon itself; it acquires a consciousness and memory.

–Aldo Rossi

manifestations temporal

of the

The human element of the city is omnipresent, and yet impossible to pinpoint. It exists within every physical part of the city. This human element is perhaps so intangible because of its temporal nature. Though the life of the city cannot be fully captured in any single image, snapshots of particular aspects supplement physical studies. In contradiction to the “planned” nature of the grid, the Midwestern city is more a result of societal inputs than an active construction. “The development of American industrial cities can more easily be understood as a temporary, ad hoc arrangement based on the momentary optimization of industrial production.”1 This is especially true of the Crossroads Arts District, which until recently, was a dying industrial area of the city. The district is a an active example of the changing city. Formed from data and observation, alternate readings of the city reveal relationships between people and the physical city. As a living record of history, the life of the city and the patterns that characterize it are integral to our understanding of the city.

1. Charles Waldheim and Marili Santos-Munné, “Decamping Detroit,” in Stalking Detroit, ed. Georgia Daskalakis, Charles Waldheim, and Jason Young (Barcelona: Actar, 2001), 107.

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traffic volume A map of peak hour traffic loads from an typical weekday depicts Kansas City as a function its traffic, and by extension its people. Each line represents fifty vehicles.

ma n i fe st a t i o n s of t h e t e m p o r a l

51


kansas city by car

footprint of surface lots and garages

52 S EEING TH E CITY


total area of surface lots and garages


vacancy map A revised figure-ground drawing of the Crossroads Arts District depicts vacant buildings in gray, giving a more accurate depiction of the district’s scattered nature.

54 S EEING TH E CITY


ma n i fe st a t i o n s of t h e t e m p o r a l

55


facade inventory The ground level storefronts along Kansas City’s primary north-south corridor are divided into categories denoting different levels and types of engagement with the public. Each street may be described by its barcode, a unique marker embedded with information.

56 S EEING TH E CITY


GRAND BOULEVARD

WALNUT STREET

MAIN STREET

active storefront inactive storefront other business parking/vacant lot parking garage bare wall green/public space residential

ma n i fe st a t i o n s of t h e t e m p o r a l

57


MO

G

A

RNOO

630-7

1230-100

715-745

115-145

8-830

200-230

845-915

245-315

930-1000

330-400

1015-1045

415-445

1100-1130

500-530

1145-1215

545-600

The activity at the corner of 14th Street and Wyandotte Street in the Downtown Loop was rerecorded during regular intervals over the course of a weekday. These images provide a record of the living city.

58 S EEING TH E CITY

urban time lapse


ma n i fe st a t i o n s of t h e t e m p o r a l

59


event city Visitor FLUCtUation at Kansas City enter tainMent VenUes 1

city market 4

events/month

583,000 annual visitors

2

folly theater 4

events/month

1078 seat capacity

3

Bartle Hall convention center

4

Power and light District O

5 S print center

250 events/year pen every day 8 78 events/year

6

Kauffman Performing arts center *Under const.

7

Kemper arena

8

crossroads District 2

9

18th and vine Jazz District

47 events/year

600,000 annual visitors million annual visitors 19,000 seat capacity 3,400 seat capacity 18,000 seat capacity

events/month

6,500+ indoor capacity

15 events/month

300,000 annual visitors

10 U nion Station O

pen excl. Mon.

490,000 annual visitors

11 c rown center O

pen every day 5

12 l iberty memorial O

pen excl. Mon.

million annual visitors 165,000 annual visitors

event frequency

60 S EEING TH E CITY


visitor attendance per event

annual event attendance

ma n i fe st a t i o n s of t h e t e m p o r a l

61


the tactile city

The surfaces of the city speak of its history and personality. This texture map follows Main Street from the River Market through the Crossroads Arts District. Abstractions were used to create a physical model with the terrain determined by tonal value.

62 S EEING TH E CITY


ma n i fe st a t i o n s of t h e t e m p o r a l

63


The conditions of the contemporary Midwestern city informed our project proposals for which design would stimulate a more habitable urban environment. The means for doing so ranged from large-scale urban design strategies that sought to reorder the city to designs for specific buildings that radically re-imagined the role of architecture and space in the city.


envisioning THE CITY


approaching architecture RACHEL DUNCAN

Most would argue that successful architecture must be aesthetically pleasing. But what if it’s not? Is it preposterous to think that something “ugly” could offer a positive experience, or should it be labeled as visual pollution and devoid of the possibility of being considered architectural? Perhaps it would be more useful to focus on the accompanying experience of architecture rather than its form, and consider whether or not said architecture is beautiful or provocative. One could very well argue that architecture itself is not real, but rather is an instrument to facilitate an experience; it is the resulting experience that is considered real. Especially in the American city, the form of architecture is the result of its function; space is the by-product of the necessary structure. As such, architecture is consequently meaningless. It is built, and then opened for possibilities, much like the city on a different scale. In Kazuo Shinohara’s machine theory of design, the overall architectural form does not matter—there is no plan or intention behind it. The role of form is to set up processes by which spaces arise and life occurs. As designers, we have no power to control anything beyond this.

66 ENVISIONING TH E CITY


The components for function and form are independent, self-arranging in an impromptu manner. At the scale of a building, Shinohara treats each part as a fragmented spatial element; the total image of the building is assembled from the sum of the many relationships established among these elements. Thus a building is in effect just an envelope for these relationships.1 This is in fact how the American city has developed. The street grid, and the individual property rights espoused by a capitalist economy, have served as the armature on which American cities were built. But this model as waned as the physical realm is usurped by the virtual. If we consider that the world is overrun with media, overflowing with simulated

“When I’m working on a problem, I “mutation of the real into the hyperreal.” never think about Paul Virilio portentously wrote in 1984 that “our only beauty. I think architecture today [is] great screens on which are reflected atoms, particles, molecules in motion.” The challenge for only how to solve the problem. designers today lies in incorporating this transparency and But when I have instantaneity into a progressive design solution. With the finished, if the city and our lives in a state of continual change, we must fit architecture to this condition; it must be pliable and willing to solution is not beautiful, I know change with us. it is wrong.” images and perpetual information, we cannot deny the 2

3

–R. Buckminster Fuller

1. Kazuo Shinohara, “Chaos and Machine,” Japan Architect 373, no. 5 (1988): 25-32. 2. Jean Baudrillard, “The Precession of Simulacra” in Simulacra and Simulation (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994), 30. 3. Jean Baudrillard, “The Ecstasy of Communication” in The AntiAesthetic, ed. Hal Foster (Port Townsend, Wash.: Bay Press, 1983), 130.

67


N


design interventions URBAN FOLLY TRIANGLE PARK

WALNUT CORRIDOR CITY INTERFACE PUBLIC/PARKING

CROSSROADS INFILL ADAPTIVE URBAN SPACE URBAN FARMSTEAD PUBLIC EDUCATION COMMUNITY SPACE

WASHINGTON SQUARE NODE URBAN DECK URBAN AQUATICS CENTER

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restructuring the grid The absoluteness of property rights combined with the utilitarianism of the Jeffersonian grid leaves little room for urban design in the Midwestern city. Zoning regulations masquerade as urban planning in a setting that is regulated by historically equalizing infrastructure. For Kansas City to operate as a coherent and functional whole, a vision for the city that considers both its form and its practical use is needed. While the urban grid was intended to provide a democratic basis for construction, it has resulted in incomprehensible space. Hierarchical organization of space and program will address Kansas City at the scale of the city and the street. The following proposals were derived from studies of movement and activity in the city, as well as evaluations of current amenities and spatial quality. More than just formal prescriptions, these plans for restructuring propose to revitalize the city by fundamentally changing how we perceive and interact with the city.

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urban corridor walnut street

The urban corridor operates on two scales—that of the city and the human. At the larger scale, the corridor serves as a backbone for the city; it is a recognizable, continuous element that the rest of the city may position itself in reference to. At the smaller scale of the street, the corridor is characterized by continuity of public space. This public space that exists as a street in the gridded city may expand and contract, and extend beyond storefronts, but persists as a distinct space in the city. A series of four episodic buildings comprising a macro-ordering system and a system of “infrastructural urban space� used to develop continuity through micro-ordering were proposed to transform Walnut Street into a pedestrian corridor in Kansas City. Superimposing these orders onto the street grid will distinguish Walnut Street as public space in the city, and not an anonymous street.

near left Located between two main trafficways, Main Street and Grand Boulevard, Walnut Street is ideally situated as a pedestrian corridor in downtown Kansas City far LEFT Walnut

street is a linear collector of activity from Main and Grand

opposite The Walnut Corridor proposal institutes additional ordering systems to the established orders of the street grid and building stock of downtown districts

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1

2

walnut corridor point structures Each intervention was placed at a significant points along the corridor, and serve as place markers for those traveling along Walnut and for the rest of the city. The form and program of each structure responds to the local context. They establish a dialogue with one another through continuity of material and design language. Conceived as large geometric pieces of a whole, each point structure along the corridor “plugs in� to the proceeding structure.

3

4

1

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2

4

3

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walnut corridor Infrastructural space At the human scale, the corridor is understood by its quality of space. The Walnut Corridor combines conventional infill with urban space that is created from infrastructure. Storm water diversion is integrated into a redesigned streetscape for the corridor, culminating in rain gardens located in green walkways. Dedicated areas for temporary infill provide the space and utilities necessary for operating a business or maintaining a residence, converting vacant lots into active space.

Surface parking lots (cyan) and unoccupied buildings (blue) degrade continuity within the Walnut Corridor

LEFT

above Green walkways in the Crossroads maintain intra-block connections that are characteristic of the district while serving the functional purpose of containing rain gardens to filter the street runoff. Like pocket parks, these connecting spaces provide small areas of easily accessible open space. A portion of the proposal plan within the Crossroads (above right) shows the location of several green walkways and temporary infill spaces. Existing buildings are shown in gray and infill buildings are in blue.

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The temporary infill spaces throughout the corridor are based on the premise that void is inherent in the gridded city. In excess, these voids become problematic. An infrastructure that is based on the division of city blocks into standard lot sizes (left) provides an opportunity to inhabit the city in a way that is in concert with the nomadic nature of our culture. Utility connection points include advertising, hanging gardens, interactive displays that may provide information to users. re st ru c t u r in g t h e g r id

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 reactivating the crossroads AMY KINDERKNECHT

infill is a common approach to urban revitalization in the U.S. The rentable square feet created by the addition of structures is presumed to attract people to live and work in the city, but too often, these newly built structures remain empty. A lively urban environment is possible where vacancy and abandonment exist, but requires much more consideration than simply hiding space behind new facades. With an abundance of potential in its unused space, Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District presents an opportunity for alternative infill strategies. An Urban Park in Paris In 1983, Bernard Tschumi won a design competition for a new urban park in Paris.

His design for Parc de la Villette challenged the typical

interpretation of the infill typology, integrating different ordering systems whose relationships with one another form the experience of the Park. A series of red folies creating a new grid brought an unfamiliar order to the site, encouraging unconventional programming of the Park. This move introduced a conceptual experience grounded in the potential of location.

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Figure-ground

map of the Crossroads Arts District with the Crossroads Infill site area highlighted in gray

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art

industrial

dining

residential

retail

services


The Crossroads in Context Tschumi’s revolutionary approach to urban design provides a model for the Crossroads Infill plan. The district, which is known for its eclectic mix of artistry and culture, is the location of many architecture firms, advertising agencies, design studios, and unique retail and restaurants. It has one of the highest concentration of art galleries in the U.S,1 but remains one of the most fragmented sections of the city. Many historic buildings stand (empty) as single entities separated by surface parking lots (often empty). The Crossroads is a patchwork of activity that occurs at limited times of the day, week, and month. Though teeming with life during the typical work week, its streets are deserted most nights and weekends. During the monthly First Fridays art exhibition, galleries and studios open their doors to the public, and the culture contained within spills into the public realm of the sidewalks and streets. This condition of discontinuity afflicts many other American cities which become “a landscape of independent islands of activity.”2 As residents fled to the suburbs and new zoning laws compartmentalized the city, the mixed-use concept of urban living fell apart, resulting in (and from) “a society which has become more and more debased.”3 Our society now possesses the means of being anywhere and everywhere else at will. The shift in the nature

top A

rare unpaved lot located in the Crossroads is fenced off, unavailable for public use

bottom Vacant buildings and the dilapidated parking lots surrounding them result in what Sze Tsung Leong terms a “no-man’s land”4

of urban life that has resulted in these spaces has created a city that is no longer situated in the physical location of interaction. The lack of need for place in urban life begs the question as to how new urban design can work towards regrounding society in its physical nature. re st ru c t u r in g t h e g r id

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Program

maps depict overlapping, but fractured networks of residential (yellow), dining (green) and services (blue) in the Crossroads Arts District.

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Realizing potential in Kansas City With such an abundance of empty lots, traditional urban infill could not even begin to make a significant enough impact in the Crossroads for it to become a thriving urban district. What this area needs most is regular activity and movement. The area needs to be hospitable for the people who will instill life in the area. This can be done with a strategic approach of design as a mediation, which will reunite urban life with the physical realm of the city. A new ordering system that builds on the character of the Crossroads will reactivate the district. Maintaining the “incompleteness” of the Crossroads, a spatial network will preserve selected open spaces, and infill structures will be designed to support these spaces. The wealth of emptiness and the connections created by this new ordering system will allow people to traverse the area by means other than the traditional street grid. It is within this network of voids already in existence that a new experiential quality of the Crossroads offers the possibility of reactivation in the area, where what was once a desolate hole in the urban fabric becomes a vital green space for people inhabiting new residential structures. These instances beg for the urban dweller to step out and experience the Crossroads at any time of day, week, or month. With a little attention they can give the residents of this area a reason to truly inhabit the city in which they live.

1. Crossroads Community Association, http://www. kccrossroads.org/organizations/500 2. Sze Tsung Leong, “Readings of the Attenuated Land,” in Slow Space, ed. Michael Bell and Sze Tsung Leong (New York: Monacelli Press, 1998), 194. 3. Paul Virilio, “The Overexposed City,” in Architecture Theory since 1968, ed. K. Michael Hayes (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1998), 545. 4. Leong, “Readings of the Attenuated Land,” 191.

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crossroads infill SPATIAL NETWORK The proposal for revitalizing the Crossroads Arts District is comprised of implementing a network of four different types of open spaces from existing un-built spaces. Designed for a nine-block area, the network is intended to be expanded to the entire Crossroads district, cementing the area’s unique identity within Kansas City. By not aligning to the street grid, these open spaces reinforce each other and form a coherent whole.

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Kinetic spaces occur mid-block and encourage the movement from one point to another along a route that is not part of the street grid.

Buffer spaces are adjacent to sidewalks and create a dialoge between interior activities and the exterior. Outdoor dining is one possible use for buffer spaces.

Static spaces, which may be large or small, are open spaces in which community members can gather.

The destination space utilizes a wide alley along which railroad tracks formerly ran. This space could be utilized for small street festivals without disrupting street traffic.

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crossroads infill STRATEGIC INTERVENTIONS The open space network is supported by infill structures that formally define the open spaces. These structures fulfill the programming requirements needed for a thriving neighborhood, by complementing the area’s many offices, premium housing, dining, and cultural establishments with much needed housing and retail diversity, educational facilities, and concentrated parking.

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RESIDENTIAL PARKING RETAIL SCHOOL OTHER ART DINING

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connecting places Downtown

Kansas

City

is

faced

with

widespread

fragmentation and polarization. The localized elevational shifts that characterize the terrain of Kansas City established natural boundaries for neighborhoods. These political boundaries, subject to refinement with relative ease, became permanent physical edges with the introduction of high-speed transportation routes crossing through the city. The disconnect even extends to activity within districts, where barren blocks separate thriving pockets of activity. The city is further isolated by the competing interests of each district. When Intestate-35 was rerouted along the western edge of the Downtown Loop it severed the Westside neighborhood from the adjacent Crossroads Arts District without regard to previously established boundaries. An attempt to develop public space within the contested area that would benefit both neighborhoods must respond to the needs of two very different communities. Our proposals attempt to establish new connections and mend broken ones in order to form a coherent, united Kansas City.

89


700 residential lofts and condominiums

5regional attractions 2 hotels 1,460

2 transit stops 1 regional amtrak station

3 museums

rooms 40% of downtown’s total

174,553

7

6

business headquarters

companies with over 1,000 employees

sq ft of exhibition and convention space

urban node

washington square park Washington Square Park lies between Main Street

By redeveloping Washington Square Park and extending

and Grand Boulevard, just south of the railroad tracks

it across the railroad tracks and the sunken parking lot

that define the southern border of the Crossroads

north of the park, it has the potential to become a node

Arts District. Union Station, Liberty Memorial, Crown

for the southern part of downtown Kansas City. This new

Center, and Hospital Hill surround the park, but remain

node would complement the existing civic buildings,

disconnected from one another. Washington Square Park

public spaces, entertainment districts, and sports venues

has an unobstructed view of the Downtown Loop, as well

that draw visitors to Kansas City and provide activities

as Liberty Memorial and the new Kauffman Center for the

and civic space for residents. Linking all of the established

Performing Arts as well as many trees and benches, yet

amenities at the southern end of downtown Kansas City

remains hardly used by the patrons and employees of

and connecting them with the activity nodes north of the

neighboring businesses.

railroad will benefit the entire downtown area.

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Broadway

10th

12th

Oak

Grand

Main

Walnut

14th

16th

public semi-pRIVATE private

18th

20th

UNDER-USED BUILDING UNDER-USED PARKING LOT VACANT LOT

M1

M1 R5

URD C3A2 R4

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top Left Prominent landmarks are visible from Washington Square Park: (clockwise from bottom) Liberty Memorial, the Kauffman Center, and the Sprint Center bottom left Parking lots (orange), parks (green), and zoning of the area surrounding Washington Square Park


He tage T a l

P oposed He itage T ail

Washington Squa e Pa k

Penn Va ley Pa k

PARKS AND TRAILS

Rive Ma ket

Ba tle Hall

The Powe and L ght D st ct

Sp int Cente

The C oss oads A t Dist ct

Union Stat on

C own Cente

Libe ty Memo ial

ATTRACTIONS

T olley Ca

MAX Line LightRail

Reg onal Rail

PUBLIC TRANSIT

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View

on upper deck looking north (above); Longitudinal section through school (below)


urban deck

SCHOOL/PARKING GARAGE/BRIDGE East of Main Street, the railroad tracks that border the Crossroads on the south cut into the ground plane of Kansas City, leaving Crown Center and Hospital Hill much higher than the Crossroads. To alleviate the disconnect caused by the railroad, a parking deck and magnet high school for education in film, art,

STRUCTURAL DECK

computer science and engineering, was proposed to bridge the districts. The prevalence of these fields in the Crossroads Arts District will provide the opportunity for students to engage with professionals in the surrounding area during their studies. This structure act as a physical and programmatic link for the rest of downtown Kansas City to Washington Square Park and the surrounding area.

STRUCTURAL COLUMNS


urban aquatics center floors

As part of a plan to revitalize the Washington Square Park area, an urban aquatics center was proposed as a complement to the Urban Deck. With three pools, the aquatic center accommodates recreational swimmers as well as therapeutic and competitive aquatics. The center would be the only venue for professional athletics in downtown Kansas City. The ground level contains a transport connection point for transferring between bus and rail. These public functions will extend pedestrian

pools

traffic south along Main Street, reconnecting Crown Center with downtown.

TOP Exterior

view looking southwest from Urban Deck

Near right Inside

main lobby with main recreational pool visible

structure

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Far Right Rooftop

view looking north


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driving by

the design and experience of triangle park SHANNON WILLIAMS The existence of Triangle Park is fundamentally tied to traffic. The park is just one of a series of triangular residual spaces created by Southwest Boulevard, a diagonal street interrupting the standard street grid in the Crossroads Arts District. Any design created for the park must address the phenomenon of traffic that first created the space. The Experience of Traffic and Streets The dominance of images over reality in today’s society described by Baudrillard in his idea of simulacra and simulation, form the basis for understanding Triangle Park as a function of the vehicle. The contrast between viewing and experiencing is central to the understanding of the site. Traffic, or traveling in a car, creates an unreality in regards to experiencing the city or a specific site that one views or passes. The experience in traffic is a simulation of reality in which you are sheltered and protected from interaction inside your vehicle; you are in control, your very attention is vied for by the outside, but you view the street from a passive perspective, much like the experience of watching television.

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Furthermore, the past conception of public streets as a place where real life and activity takes place is now lost. The vehicle has usurped the pedestrian to make the realm of the streets exclusively for traffic and cars, rather than a shared space. Streets represented on maps are now only funnels for traffic (although they are still “sold” in new developments with perspectives filled with people and activity, pedestrians and bikers, interest and life). In many cases the streets are no longer places for “real” activity and we can only make them seem as such through another unreality—the Disneyland-esque temporary introduction of life and events. First Fridays does just that in the Crossroads. But the vibrant street life and opportunity for interaction that characterize First Fridays also accentuates the lack of population and activity in the Crossroads on any other given day. Like Disneyland, most First Fridays participants must drive from elsewhere and park to take place in the event, exiting again at the termination of the event and returning the Crossroads to its normal state of under-utilization. Changes in Traffic in the Present Day It is clear that the effect of traffic has always been evident in some way in the city. Historical maps show us that Triangle Park has existed for over one hundred years as the product of three intersecting streets. But in these maps, the site of Triangle Park is subdivided into lots and contains buildings; its

Driving by Triangle Park is analogous to watching television

anomalous shape and size do not render the land useless. It may be deduced that experience of traffic has changed to become more divisive today. Baudrillard argues

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that automobiles are no longer seen as objects, but as their functions, merely to be used and optimized through the power of technology: “The vehicle now becomes a kind of capsule, its dashboard the brain, the surrounding landscape unfolding like a televised screen (instead of a live-in projective as it was before).”1 Not only is the experience of passing through the city muted, but so too is the experience of traveling by vehicle now that technology allows a person to “exist” in any space at any moment in time. Paul Virilio contends that traffic or new modes of transportation such as the automobile did not fundamentally change our experience of the city in which “architectural surfaces still formed boundaries, cities still comprised clusters of locals, and space was still managed perspectivally.”2 Rather, the constant communication and destruction of city boundaries resulting from technology has transformed our experience of the city from one of spaces to one of time and light. If we are all now “interlocutors in permanent transit,” our designs must address this existence: an appeal or challenge that no longer simply relates to a physical or visual interaction, but to a technological way of life. implications for Triangle Park Images, or simulacra, are continuously used to enhance our desire for improved highways and streets. The rush hour traffic jam is commonly portrayed in television, movies, and the nightly news as a destructive phenomenon that Triangle Park (yellow) in 1896

can only be solved by more construction, more roads, and faster travel times. Triangle Park is one opportunity to create a new image of and interaction with traffic that tells a different story. By focusing a design solution to react to traffic— whether combating, harnessing, or simply interacting

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with it—awareness can be created in the minds of the constant commuter. Technology can be utilized as an underlying support for design goals as we accept its permeation and importance in our current society, however technology may not necessarily be the focus of the design. Case Studies: Interactions with Traffic By addressing the constant flow of traffic and the typical inattention of drivers to their surroundings, we can create an atypical space resulting in a unique experience. At the intersection of 8th Street and John Street in Seattle, Washington, a woonerf was built to help create a convivial interaction between drivers and pedestrians.3 Woonerfs are popular in the Netherlands, where they create a shared public space in which pedestrians take precedence over vehicles, but do not disallow the use of cars. By populating the street right-of-way with parking, vegetation, children’s play places, seating, and other amenities while narrowing lanes, drivers are obligated to reduce speeds while traveling in the woonerf, simultaneously increasing safety and enhancing their own experience with the outside world. The concept of a woonerf could be adapted for the

8th Avenue and John Street Woonerf, Seattle, Washington. Alyse Nelson and Dara O Byrne, 2005

Triangle Park site. Instead of closing either 23rd Street or Pennsylvania Street at Triangle Park, as has been proposed, these streets may be narrowed, the curbs removed and the pavement replaced with a visually distinct material. Like woonerfs, these moves would signal to drivers that they are in a unique space. The dissolution of the boundary between Triangle Park and the roadway would create an open space that is much more connected to public space of the street, and allow pedestrians to take precedence over vehicles. c o n n e c t in g p la c e s

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Case Studies: Awareness through Art The success of woonerfs is due in part to the play areas that were included to support the local population of families with children. Bringing children and parents to the park area is desired in order to enliven the space and encourage use by community members, creating a feeling of safety and ownership. Without a target group to occupy the park, the space may become the habitat of “undesirable” persons that generate a feeling of uneasiness to other users, resulting in avoided space. In order to customize our design program for the local population, different groups may need to be addressed. The immediate area is home to a variety of businesses, including restaurants, architecture and design firms, and artists. A live artist would be an appropriate anchor for the site, and help to enliven the space. In many cities, live art is a common occurrence that helps to create a common identity for its diverse population. Offering the environment and infrastructure needed Lights installed on the Thames Bridge in London react to pedestrians’ movements. Jason Bruges

top

Studio, 2008

Large “litmus strips” react to environmental stimuli and display information to drivers in London. Jason bottom

Bruges Studio, 2005

to create and display artwork would be the first step to harnessing the creativity of the area and changing the current dead zone into a live space. Such an environment might include display spaces, seating, a comfortable level of sun and shade, and possible access points for electricity. It will be important to address the safety of automobiles traveling along Southwest Boulevard in regards to attention-attracting displays in the park space; such displays may be better suited farther from this main traffic way, with only glimpses caught from cars passing

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by the site. Case Studies: Traffic, Movement, and Light Lighting is a popular and aesthetically pleasing way to adapt a space. At Triangle Park, lighting can be utilized both as an extension of the Park space into the surrounding neighborhoods and as a way to utilize new technologies highlighting the movement and traffic inherent around the park site. Jason Bruges Studio and Light Projects Ltd. have created many displays of interactive lighting for pedestrians and vehicles. These projects primarily seek to develop interest and interaction through technology applied to otherwise typical spaces. Such a project could prove beneficial to attracting users to Triangle Park and celebrate the traffic patterns that created the site. As with the design of any other public space, comfort, safety, and environmental needs should not be forgotten in any lighting scheme. Designing triangle park By examining the effect of traffic upon our site and creating solutions such as allowing pedestrians to interact positively with cars in a shared space (woonerf), mitigating the effects of traffic with increased pedestrian activity (engaging artists), or even highlighting traffic through technology and lighting, our design proposal can provide a strong response to this major impact on Triangle Park site and its surroundings.

1. Jean Baudrillard, “The Ecstasy of Communication” in The Anti-Aesthetic, ed. Hal Foster (Port Townsend, Wash.: Bay Press, 1983), 127. 2. K. Michael Hayes, ed., Architecture Theory since 1968 (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1998), 540. 3. Alyse Nelson and Dara O’Byrne, “Public Art in Street ROW: Civic Interaction at the Park Entrance” in Studio Report—Urban Form in South Lake Union, ed. University of Washington Department of Urban Design and Planning (2005)

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urban folly triangle park

The development proposal for Triangle Park is guided by a desire for connection—connection between two demographically different communities separated by a highway overpass, and connection between the fractured spaces created by a main trafficway running diagonally to the grid in an already sparsely inhabited area. The design promotes connection by providing walkability and stayability. Walkability is addressed by making a formidable route between the Westside neighborhood and the Crossroads Arts District much more pedestrianfriendly. Stayability is created with a seating deck, trees and rain garden that will encourage community members to utilize the space, reconnecting people with place and each other.

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In 1939, new setback requirements and roadway expansions made the site of Triangle Park unusable for private buildings. Originally subdivided into three lots with two-story buildings, the site has since been entrusted to the Kansas City Parks and Recreation department to be protected as community space. But while Triangle Park is technically part of the public space of the city, and is maintained by a local resident, the space is not utilized. Public space acts as the stage for life in the city—it is where people interact, ideas are shared, and from this we develop our relationship of self to the city. The importance of open space as the site for public forums is an important aspect of the city, which Colin Rowe describes as “a combination of complex networks that are only successful when all live for the collective whole.”1

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The I-35 overpass creates problems beyond just a symbol of division and car-culture; the girders underneath the roadway are home to dozens of pigeons. Community members have tried many methods to clean bird droppings from the bridge and prevent the birds from roosting there, but the problem persists. Walking underneath the bridge through unsanitary conditions is a daunting task, as well as a health safety issue. This drawing maps the bird droppings underneath the bridge, which are most prevalent along the wider-flanged beams and around supporting columns. The design proposal includes a canopy that protects pedestrians and can be easily cleaned with a hose.


Westside

C ros s roads

Nei g h b o r h o o d s

Prior to the construction of I-35, Broadway Boulevard was the boundary between the Westside and Crossroads neighborhoods. (At the time, the Crossroads was an industrial district with warehouses and light manufacturing that made use of the proximity to the railroad.) I-35 was built running through the Westside neighborhood. In addition to the loss of residences and businesses on land seized for the highway, several blocks on the east side were cut off from the rest of the Westside neighborhood. Over time, the land was appropriated by the Crossroads and now the area in which Triangle Park sits is under dispute. Triangle Park’s design incorporates the proposed road diet for Southwest Boulevard, which would narrow the street to one lane in each direction and add on-street parking. The proposal would also close the portion of 23rd Street on the south edge of the site, because the road is not heavily used, and vehicles often travel the wrong the direction on this one-way portion of the street.

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c

d

d

1 8” 1 0”

SITE PLAN c

southwest bouleva d elevation 1/4” = 1 0”

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CANOPY SEGMENTS A TeflonÂŽ coated fabric canopy protects the entire width of the sidewalk underneath the I-35 overpass from bird droppings. It is tilted towards the south to prevent birds from perching on the canopy, and to direct rain water and towards a drainage grate that runs along the south edge of the sidewalk. The canopy, which is attached to the existing bridge structure is divided into segments for transportation and bridge repair.

CANOPY

The concrete pathway extending from under the canopy rises slightly from the ground to provide a mental and physical distinction between the pedestrian and vehicular areas. This also functions as an inlet for rain water collection. The site sits at a low point in the area, and local drainage is easily overwhelmed, resulting in rainwater collecting at the site. An integrated rain garden and detention area alleviates this problem without inhibiting pedestrian movement. The tall native grasses and aromatic plants of the rain garden will counter the “fowl� smells from the birds under the bridge. Vegetation extends to the adjacent building wall on the south side to tie in the strongest pre-defined edge with the rest of the site. While the canopy and the link work to achieve walkability, the rest of the site and deck area focus more on creating a reason for people to stay.

WALKWAY

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Community members expressed interest in an easily accessible space that allowed them to get out of the office. An ipe deck near the rear of the site provides a place for visitors to eat lunch, watch people, or just relax outside. It is situated to receive sun year-round, but trees were added along the east edge to provide shade for the summer months. The deck’s rises from the walkway to define the site and provide elevated seating, and wraps around an existing electrical box.

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top left Walking north on Southwest Boulevard under I-35 overpass left Model

of proposal for Triangle Park; I-35 is running long the top

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Uplighting washes the underside of the canopy and is also implemented along Southwest Boulevard to imply safety and connection. The lighting highlights the Park’s features to attract users that might have overlooked the site during the day.


T


programming change For a city to progress, its architecture must anticipate the future, and be designed for change. Unlike the anonymous columnfilled open floor plans of Modernism, which were touted for their flexibility, designing adaptable space more than providing a rational armature. Architecture persists when its existence is not tied to program. A park that can accommodate a range of functions will be a staple of activity in a community. Functional plurality is necessary for the urban environment, where space is a limited resource. In addition to being versatile, the programming of buildings needs to be reconsidered. Technology that did not exist a decade ago has become integrated into almost every aspect of daily life; our schools and homes should reflect this. But in looking forward, architecture should not forget the past. One of the biggest advantages that urban areas provide over the surrounding suburbs is the prevailing sense of place. Buildings with unconventional programs can still “fit in� to an historic context, contributing to a sense of place.

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adaptive urban space This proposal for adaptable open space straddles the definitions of a park, pavilion, and event space. It articulates a design for static open space at the southwest corner of 18th Street and Walnut Street put forth in the Crossroads Infill urban design strategy. The space is only static in the sense that it is designed as a destination point within the greater open space plan for the Crossroads; the permanent structure provides a framework for a variety of uses, including parking, concerts, banquets, and an open-air market. The perimeter arcade is a semi-enclosed circulation

structure housing storage and restroom facilities, and topped by an elevated park and walkway.

top left People move easily to and from the space with multiple points of access to the courtyard space and rooftop park left The

peninsular stage can is an ideal spot for musical and theatrical performances, as well as for children to play.

opposite Bird’s-eye view looking southeast

118 ENVI SI ONI NG TH E CITY


above Multi-level space creates dynamic gathering spot for the Crossroads community opposite  Examples of flexible programming options

120 ENVI SI ONI NG TH E CITY


banquet

performance

market

parking

pro g ra mm in g c h a n g e

121


community space mixed-income housing

This building took the typical urban mixed-use program and turned it on its head. Rather than placing private (housing) atop public (gallery/ retail), each of these programs became distinct entities placed next to each other. Public space is also dispersed throughout the housing block. In doing so, the residents residential become firmly connected with the life of the city, The public block was conceived as live/ work studios for temporary artists-in-residence, but may accommodate any number of uses. While the building appears anti-urban (set far back into the lot) and anti-environmental (running north-south), it defies these initial assumptions. Adjustable vertical fins on the west side block unwanted afternoon sun in the summer, and perforated steel facade screens open-air circulation and public space that provide a buffer zone between the elements and residential units.

Circulation

(yellow) connects public spaces (aqua); two cores on either end of the building support a regular structural grid; the building is wrapped in a perforated steel facade to enclose its open spaces and protect the building from direct sunlight.

122 ENVI SI ONI NG TH E CITY


View from 20th Street looking west. The building’s slab shape developed from the prevalence of billboards in the Crossroads, and in particular, the practice of applying city-scale advertisement directly to building walls. With Community Space, the building itself becomes the message, rather than the vehicle for the message.

pro g ra mm in g c h a n g e

123


above A stairwell located within the perforated steel facade provides direct access to the common spaces dispersed through the building. left Efficiency

studios, two-bedroom apartments, and premium lofts are the available in the building, with up to eleven units on each floor.

opposite An live-in artists’ studio and gallery is appended to the apartment building and connected on the fifth floor to allow for the co-mingling of public and private life.

pro g ra mm in g c h a n g e

125


Walnut Street

Main Street

E 18th Street

public education

civic space and middle school

The “School of One� education model is dynamic and highly E 19th Street

individualized; it requires an built environment that can meet its needs for flexibility but still provides a safe setting conducive to learning. This magnet school in the Crossroads provides sixth through eighth graders with a variety of academic environments in a transparent block that sits atop a plinth containing the gymnasium. Administrative offices support the academic block and frame the kinetic open space proposed in the Crossroads Infill plan. above left Site left The

plan

academic block is accessed through a secure third-story bridge in the administrative area of the school. Lecture classrooms on are located at the north end and flex instruction space is in the middle on most levels in the school. The two-story library and the auditorium are on the south end of the school.

126 ENVI SI ONI NG TH E CITY


above View looking north on Walnut Street left Massing

concept

Far left Integration

with Crossroads Infill open space plan

pro g ra mm in g c h a n g e

127


The

main stairwell and full height windows emphasizes transparency within the school

128 ENVI SI ONI NG TH E CITY


pro g ra mm in g c h a n g e

129


urban farmstead

2

This multi-purpose building fulfills programmatic needs in the

3

1

Crossroads Arts District with a digital media center, groundOPEN TO SPACE BELOW

level plaza, flexible apartments, and a three-story greenhouse. The digital media center, with an auditorium, classrooms, film studio, and library would offer digital artists a dedicated space to exhibit their work in the Crossroads, and would host public

LEVEL 1 1) LOBBY 2) GALLERY 3) AUDITORIUM/THEATER 4) PUBLIC REST ROOMS 5) APARTMENT LOBBY WITH POST BOX STATION FIRE STAIRS APARTMENT ELEVATORS

events at the plaza, helping to activate street-level space. Modular apartments can expand to accommodate growing families, and the greenhouse provides residents an opportunity to reap the benefits of urban farming year-round. Three-story tiered greenhouse provides sustenance for residents 

left 3

2

far left A 4

5

1

ground-floor auditorium and gallery allow the public to access student work. Residential units on upper floors allow for expansion auditorium and gallery space allows the public to view student

opposite The public plaza on the ground-floor may be used for visitor overflow as well as separate events.

130 ENVI SI ONI NG TH E CITY


redefining public Public is understood as the antithesis of private, but in actuality, the two are not wholly exclusive of each other. A city is defined in large part by its public space (i.e. the street in the gridded city). But what defines this public space? The perceived space of the street does not pay deference to property lines. Conversely, public space does not necessarily end at the physical boundaries of storefronts. Public space provides the backdrop for which the life of the city takes place. While allowing for interaction and spectacle, the street was conceived as utilitarian, allowing movement within a city. So it is not unreasonable to suggest that other functional space for the public—parking garages and lots—may double as public space. Both land owners and the community benefit from temporary appropriation of vacant or under-utilized land. With functions ranging from restaurants to health clinics being packaged into self-contained mobile units, parking lots can become urban spaces. Re-imagining the public realm—what it looks like, how it functions—will inject relevance back into the space of the city.

132 ENVI SI ONI NG TH E CITY


City Interface confronts the thriving car culture of Kansas City by providing a sustainable point of entry into downtown. Its building typology is based on the contemporary train station prototype (e.g. Berlin Hauptbahnhof and KyĹ?to station), which is characterized by transparency, abundant natural light, multi-level free public space, views of the city, links to public transit, shopping, dining, and concealed parking. The program of City Interface incorporates multipurpose public

city interface

multi-modal transit hub

134 ENVI SI ONI NG TH E CITY

spaces, workspaces, free Internet access, a bookstore, local and regional bus transit, bicycle commuter facilities, and public parking as a pivotal component. The building


mediates the divide between the metropolitan area and

the building responds to its contemporary urban context

downtown Kansas City: it is a portal with the qualities of

and anticipates future function. Floor plans are open

a destination, an integral point in travel to and from the

and malleable; public spaces are poised to satisfy

city.

diverse events and residual functions; infrastructures are In regard to its monumentality, the building is

adaptable to advancing transportation technology (i.e.

analogous to Union Station, a former point of entry to the

electric cars and buses); and its integration of necessary

city via train. City Interface contributes a powerful new

public amenities ensures longevity.

manifestation of the intermediary space between the

The building situates itself along the proposed

highway and the city: here, the suburban meets the urban

Walnut Corridor and acts as extension of the public

dweller face to face, where both are offered opportunities

realm. Its eastern façade, which plays a crucial role in

to collaborate and to share common experiences. As

the building’s circulation, modulates the interstitial space

much a civic institution as a practical parking garage,

of the street and provides visual connection between the Loop and the River Market districts of downtown, which are separated by a high-speed motorway. The ground floor maintains a functionally modified version of the site’s inherent sloping topography and is regarded as a pedestrian continuation of the street. Ample free public space, a rarity in downtown Kansas City, extends to an elevated public plaza on the upper deck of the parking garage. City Interface is a contemporary civic institution; it is a monument to the collective will of the residents of Kansas City.

pro g ra mm in g c h a n g e

135


Highway access to parking garage (cyan); Walnut Street space extends into building (black)

near right

far right Ground floor plan; the topography carried through the ground floor reinforces the continuation of street space through the building photograph

South elevation (model)


WALNU T

STREET

MAIN ST REET

EAST 6TH STREET

EAST 7TH STREET


top floor

mezzanine level

Interior

view of ground level public space

138 ENVI SI ONI NG TH E CITY


public/parking

temporary urban space Many areas of the city lack the concentration of public amenities that draw patrons to activate the street. Though the Crossroads district contains a mix of residents, businesses, and public amenities, it lacks the critical mass to support a thriving public realm. The Crossroads has an abundance of surface parking lots that are under-used and often unmaintained. While preserving the functionality of such spaces as parking lots, added infrastructure could support supplemental uses, maximizing the potential of these spaces. The primary element of this proposal is a modular shelter that provides access to electricity. The module itself is a temporary structure that may be disassembled and moved to other sites if a property owner decides to build on his or her land. Electrical charging stations, and the ability to rent space and time incrementally will be the impetus for attracting much needed amenities and patrons. Space that was formerly devoid of life is now an integral part of the public realm. In conjunction with the electricity module, strategies for stormwater management are proposed in order to reduce the negative impact of these lots on the city. Underground storage cisterns, catchment areas, and permeable paving prevent excessive runoff to an overtaxed city sewer system, and provide irrigation for hanging gardens.

140 ENVI SI ONI NG TH E CITY

Preliminary

iteration of temporary modules transforming parking lots into urban space


public/parking typical module

1

3

142 ENVI SI ONI NG TH E CITY

2

4

Assembly sequence 1. Girders and columns

attached to concrete footings 2. Bracing attached 3. Wiring brought up to girders 4. Canopy beams and photovoltaic panels added


Each 28 ft. by 49 ft. module is designed to work with varying configurations of standard parking stalls, and may be deconstructed for use at other locations if the current location is redeveloped. The steel channel frame supports a canopy of photovoltaic panels with cylindrical thin-film cells. The brise soleil canopy generates electricity while providing a balance of shade and sunlight. Electrical conduit is carried from the canopy to the columns with steel angles that also help provide vertical bracing. In anticipation of KCP&L’s implementation of a “smart grid,” the modules can feed electricity back into the energy grid, and provide an access point for electricity. Electric vehicle charging stations may be mounted onto any of the support columns.

L 6x4x½

¼ in. steel plate

C 6x10.5 conduit ev charging station

pv panel C 12x25 C 8x13.75 C 6x10.5

L 6x4x½

conduit L 3x2x¼

CANOPY DETAIL

COLUMN DETAIL

re de f in in g p u b lic

143


AVERAGE DAILY ENERGY USE

Above View of space being used for a mobile classroom and parking lot Left Electricity

needs were established to determine the necessary number of modules and possible site accommodations.

site area

area of required pvs (1 kWh/panel/day)

WATER PUMP (1 x 8 kWh) POP-UP SHOPS (2 x 6-17 kWh) SITE LIGHTING (up to 34 kWh) EV CHARGING (6 x 24 kWh)

opposite Site-specific configurations show how the modules can be used to help parking and public space coexist. The mobile units depicted are a sample of the variety of temporary infill possibilities.


POTENTIAL LAYOUT

SITE INFRASTRUCTURE

trellis garden and site lighting regular vehicle

mobile classroom

seating and rain garden

electricity module container store

office of mobile design's

POTENTIAL LAYOUT

MOBILE ECO-LAB mobile classroom for K-12 students 8' x 35' cargo trailer LA county

electric vehicle storycorps®

MOBILE BOOTHS traveling recording studio 26' Airstream trailer across the U.S.

lot-ek’s

UNIQLO CONTAINER STORES temporary retail store 8' x 20' shipping containers New York City

food trailer

FOOD TRAILERS AND TRUCKS food vendors 6’+ x 10’+ everywhere

mobile recording studio


The capacity to actualize the virtual is a fundamental and even traditional aspect of architecture. From the manipulation of light and space in the work of Francesco Borromini or Guarino Guarini, to the fugitive tectonic effects of Mies van der Rohe…architecture’s tangible presence is always informed by a corresponding virtual field. Shifting relations of program, information, and use further extend architecture’s engagement with the invisible flows of the city.

– STAN ALLEN


reflections

Understanding the urban environment is essential for all of the disciplines represented in this studio: architecture, interior architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning. The critical examination of the context in which we are designing—physically, culturally, and historically—results in meaningful designs that have evolved from place. This necessity to understand the environment and formulate contextual responses is crucial as a digital existence takes hold. Life is ultimately grounded in the reality of the physical world, and it is our role to maintain the relevance of the urban realm by designing in such a way as to adapt to new ways of living, but without abandoning local identity. We intend for the studies and proposals presented in this book to provide a foundation upon which future Kansas City Design Center studios will build. The new perspectives that subsequent students and instructors will bring, as well as the changing context of Kansas City, will continue the dialogue of design within the urban realm.


Thank you

notes

BNIM for being available as a multi-faceted resource; Doug Stockman of el Dorado, inc. for being a liaison in the Triangle Park project and providing general support for the program; Populous and Dimensional Innovations for generously donating studio time and materials to add on to the Kansas City model; the Young Architects Forum of Kansas City, Dominique Davison of Davison Architecture + Urban Design and local artist Susan White for providing intellectual stimulation with lectures and discussions held at the Kansas City Design Center; and the following guest critics for providing valuable input at our project reviews: Vicki Noties of HNTB; Kite Singleton, Urban Design and Architecutre; Mark Shapiro, Steve McDowell, Stephen Hardy, Christina Hoxie, Aaron Ross, James Pfeiffer, Murali Ramaswami and Tom Nelson of BNIM; Joe Jimenez and Bryan Gross of Helix Architecture + Design; Rohn Grotenhuis and Ryan Gedney of 360 Architecture; Doug Stockman and David Dowell of el Dorado, inc.; Heidi Pollmann and Terry Berkbuegler of Confluence; Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller of Agency Architecture; Jonathan Arnold of Arnold Imaging; John Gaunt, Keith Diaz-Moore, Nils Gore, Shannon Criss, Bruce Johnson and Chad Kraus of the University of Kansas; Tim de Noble, Peter Magyar, Stephanie Rolley, Lorraine Cutler, Larry Bowne, Torgeir Norheim, Bob Condia, Blake Belange and Jason Brody of Kansas State University


Kansas City Design Center

Studio members

PRESIDENT

Erica Besler

John C. Gaunt, FAIA Dean and Professor, University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design and Planning

Urban Planning, Kansas State University

VICE PRESIDENT Cindy Frewen, FAIA Principal, Frewen Architects, Inc.

BOARD MEMBERS Tim de Noble, AIA Dean and Professor, Kansas State University College of Architecture, Planning and Design Jonathan M. Kemper Vice Chairman, Commerce Bancshares, Inc. Chairman, Commerce Bank, Kansas City Region David Warm Director, Mid-America Regional Council

DIRECTOR/CEO

Jake Brewer Architecture, University of Kansas

Benjamin Busch Architecture, University of Kansas

Katie Darter Architecture, University of Kansas

Rachel Duncan Architecture, Kansas State University

Paul Folger Architecture, Kansas State University

Allison Gould Interior Architecture, Kansas State University

Sean Handley Architecture, University of Kansas

Daniel Serda, Ph.D. University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design and Planning

Janelle Heideman

STUDIO INSTRUCTOR

Landscape Architecture, Kansas State University

Prof. Vladimir Krstic Kansas State University College of Architecture, Planning and Design

Amy Kinderknecht

Interior Architecture, Kansas State University

Steven Holt

Architecture, Kansas State University

Karina Leung Architecture, University of Kansas

Brent Simmons Architecture, University of Kansas

Scott Stickane Architecture, University of Kansas

Brandon Uloho Architecture, University of Kansas

Shannon Williams Urban Planning, Kansas State University


KANSAS CITY DESIGN CENTER URBAN STUDIO 2010 The University of Kansas & Kansas State University

Uncovering Potential: An Investigation into Dimensions of the City  

Kansas City Design Center Urban Studio 2010; The University of Kansas & Kansas State University

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