Our concept stemmed from the idea of an all season market place-a much needed venue in the city center given Birmingham's culture and deep love of food, art, and music. This simple idea of creating a place for local growers, artisans, chefs and musicians grew into a destination that we've dubbed "The Station".
Besides the obvious railroad reference, the name suits the spirit of the place we've envisioned, which evolved into, not only a glass and steel linear all season market place that extends the length of the site from Rail Road Park heading to the next section of 'the line', but also boasts:
All of these things, intended as a platform for social engagement, exciting activity and healthy living nestled between the North and South sides of the city, lend to "The Station" being a natural hub for the locals and Birmingham visitors alike.
|THE COOL FACTOR
New York City has The High Line. Chicago has Millennium Park. San Antonio has The River Walk. Birmingham has The Station! Each place is iconic, represents the culture of their home. The Station incorporates several features oozing with coolness. From Rail Road Park a wood, cable and steel bridge spans 18th street to create gateway onto the elevated walking path of the green roof of the market space. Pass thru a 2 story tall vertical garden serving as a gateway to 'The Platform'-which has a few surprises of its own. The crunchy crushed gravel pathway framed with landscaping gives way to small lawns which are perfect for a picnic, studying on a blanket (for our UAB students), a bit of Yoga or Ti Chi or to watch a concert or people below on street level. But we've saved the coolest aspect of the walkway, literally, for last with The Look-out. The Look-out is the end of our part of the line. As it rises up from The Platform, it cantilevers over 19th Street to give a view to both North and South Sides of the city-not to mention the thrill of watching the traffic buzz underneath on the street below. Not only do we have cool, but we have hot. The Turn Table Theater will be a hot ticket item for this site. Similar to the skate bowls at Rail Road Park, our theater is much wider version at about 120' in diameter with a sculptural canopied stage. Sandwiched between grassy berms on the North side and the steel and glass market to the South, this theater will be a hit.
As big fans of Rail Road Park and the corridor plan, we paid special attention to this aspect of our concept. We consider this site as an extenuation of the park and its features while adding iconic elements to make it a landmark section of the corridor. To do this, we broke into the walking loop of Rail Road Park at its highest point to continue the trial to our site via a bridge that allows a safe cross over for park goers. By incorporating the green roof/The Platform, we were able to put back green space that was lost to the indoor market place in order to maintain the park 'feel' for this site. By choosing to dead end The Platform into The Overlook, we've done the opposite, we've gestured to the next piece of the Sloss Corridor to come. Thus, The Platform is both a destination venue and a direct and continuous link between Railroad Park and the Sloss Corridor "down the line".
Many of Rail Road parks elements-bench, railing, planting material- are incorporated into The Station in order to have a connective theme between both sites. Much planning, time and energy was invested into the development of Rail Road Park, and the Station will allow for a double return on that investment.
The Station design also makes use of a few sustainable techniques that well help with long term expenses. The elevated walkway is a fun site feature, but is also a creative use of a green roof which serves another function of insulating the space below. A water collection system to capture site water run-off in a series of cisterns for re-use for site irrigation. The connector walls between the restaurant nodes are proposed as bays of glass and metal overhead doors that can open up during the temperate seasons not only serve to expand the market area into the surrounding outdoor spaces, but allow for ventilation and reduces the demand for conditioned space.
There is no other venue in our city that combines multiple uses proposed for this site, serving the needs of residents while providing a destination for visitors.
The Station's combination open air and climate controlled venues on the lower market place will provide a favorite place year round for visitors to meet, eat, hang out and enjoy our local southern vibe. Since various sizes of rentable spaces will be available, it will draw vendors from all economic levels, and the market place will provide an ever changing variety of goods that will have visitors planning their next visit.
There will be plenty of space, both inside and outside for people to enjoy a cup of coffee, a bite to eat, a chat with friends, a stroll with their favorite four legged friend, a leisurely stroll through locally crafted products and locally grown produce. With its convenient proximity to UAB, Cityville and downtown businesses will have easy access to take a break from the office.
The uniqueness of the Turntable Theater will draw, events, theater and musical talent from around greater Birmingham and beyond, allowing a small intimate relaxed atmosphere for performers and performances. The performances at the Turntable Theater can also be viewed from The Station's elevated walkway and lawns.
The Station will be a destination venue for visitors to the area and will also serve local residents. It will become a favorite place for residents and visitors to visit year-round for locally grown products, as well as homemade and handcrafted items and artistic works. It's open air but covered amphitheater stage will be a favorite venue for musical and theatrical productions, highlighting local artists.