This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Reincarnated Architecture: Through Green Alleys, Dead Space Can Live Anew."
This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Reincarnated Architecture: Through Green Alleys, Dead Space Can Live Anew."To most eyes, alleys are?at best?liminal zones. Inhabiting the space between ?here? and ?there,? they exist but for the grace of their adjacencies.At worst, they are dark, dank, and even dangerous?seen by city dwellers as dead space. However, to a visionary few, the negative space alleys occupy isn?t dead at all; it?s merely dormant, waiting for a rebirth into something functional and new.In cities where real estate is scarce, expensive, or impractical, alleys are being reclaimed, revitalized, and repurposed for parks, businesses, art, bike transit, and even urban agriculture. All of these green alleys have the potential to create new enclaves that make communities safer, cleaner, and more prosperous.
The transformation of an alley in the Miami Design District. Image © Daniel Toole
Hidden SeattleAmong those who appreciate alleys not only for what they are, but also for what they could become, is architect and urban designer Daniel Toole. While living in Seattle in 2008, he developed a mild obsession with these urban veins and arteries in between buildings.?Every day I walked through alleys from where I lived in First Hill down to my office near Pike Place Market,? says Toole, who, after photographing the alleys on his daily commute, began looking for new ways to engage with them. That led him to a metalworking class where he fashioned trinkets like ashtrays and flower boxes that he used to accessorize his favorite alleys.?It became quite a hobby,? says Toole, author of Tight Urbanism, a tome dedicated to globe-tripping alleyway architecture, funded by AIA Seattle?s 2010 Emerging Professional Travel Scholarship. ?In M...