On September 15th, 2017 For Park(ing) day 2017, INTERSTICE Architects created an interactive Park(ing) Day installation on Polk Street at Hemlock Alley. Visitors experienced the wind-activated Mirrored Mylar Forest-Field (see pics below) to explore questions of pedestrian safety and share their experiences of being a San Francisco pedestrian. Which spaces are prioritized for pedestrians? Where is there room for improvement?
Recording individual experiences as a pedestrian, cyclist or driver, the public was asked to register their information directly onto the installation surface. An enlarged a map of the Polk Street Corridor created the “ground” for discussion. This interactive pedestrian Park(ing) map evolved throughout the day as a palimpsest that visitors could walk through – orienting themselves within the parking space, the neighborhood, and the city streets.
The installation was inspired by the Polk Streetscape Improvements recently underway and INTERSTICE’s collaboration as part of an initiative to enrich The Lower Polk Alleyways District. The new Lower Polk Alleyways Vision Plan (LPADVP) recently adopted by the Lower Polk Neighbors, proposes a future vision for the 12 blocks of alleyways located within the boundaries of the Lower Polk Neighborhood. INTERSTICE Architects guided this community-driven process which has resulted in a unique community initiated-set of strategies and guidelines designed to understand these alleyways, not as singular back-streets or isolated funding opportunities, but instead to consider them as a whole – as a District.
INTERSTICE Architects is a multidisciplinary firm of architects, landscape architects, and urban designers. IA has built its reputation on designing places that focus on the integration of civic and public space, blurring the boundaries between highly activated architectural and landscape places in the creation of an “architecture of landscape” that engages people; creating a high-performance place that provides extra ecological and sustainable benefits to all.
PARK(ing) Day is an annual open-source global event where citizens, artists, and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art, and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world. The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat … at least until the meter runs out!