After our discussion with RDG, I have been contemplating the importance of exterior facades. Considering people often walk down the street at 3-5 mph, the challenge in both architecture and urban planning for years has been designing an interesting streetscape that engages our senses at that speed. I began by collecting images of spaces from my experience that I believed are successful at doing this very thing.
Commonalities between all these streets are that they are attractions within themselves and have some sort of historical significance, have clear indicators for their functions and entrances, are walkable due to pedestrian coverage (trees and boarders), and lastly allow for some seating. Along those lines, corridors like Broadway, Bourbon Street, Michigan Ave, and Hollywood Boulevard could be added to the list.
Still, the question arises, how do you extract the successful qualities from these spaces into your own without making a cliche. How do these applications further apply within a place like Las Vegas which is known for imitating famous spaces?
In regards to our own project, to make the street more inviting, we’ve added comfortable benches with backs on curb extensions, facing toward the buildings (as opposed to the street) and anchored them with planters to provide a sense of place and community. On a nice day, people rest, converse or read a book. People of all ages are engaged. We’ve also both minimized the column grid and raised the shading structure up to 12 feet to open the building up more visually to the street. Lastly, we have positioned our most active programs toward the perimeter of the building (with glass walls) so to encourage movement into the space. Collectively, we hope that efforts like these will create an active and engaging neighborhood that will attract more people and enhance economic and social sustainability.