Space to gather, protest, and play is critical for democracy to work. Freedom Square is a temporary community plaza that was envisioned, built and programed by local community artists and entrepreneurs. The project was built in partnership with a landscape architect-led design team as a part of public plaza demonstration project organized and funded by West Broadway Area Business Coalition (WBC). The project provides a series of adaptable components that transform a vacant lot into a vibrant place where the community can perform, host and gather.
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Client: West Broadway Area Business Coalition (WBC)
Area: .2 acres
Team: Ten x Ten, JXTA, 4rm+ULA,
Envirotech Construction, Radius Track
Award: 2017 ASLA-MN Merit Award,
WBC’s goal for the project was to occupy a city owned vacant lot along West Broadway Avenue in North Minneapolis and transform it into a vibrant community place that would allow for the creation of culture; a place where community can perform, host open markets and gather formally or informally. The design concept proposed an inventive adaptable infrastructure that adapts and changes in service of community needs; The Magic Shed and Diamond Cloud.
The Diamond Cloud provides shade, a sense of enclosure while also presencing wind and light. It is supported by steel posts that provide cellular charging stations powered by PV panels at the top. It is interactive and multi-functional shading device that marks the space to lounge, occupy and mingle.
The Magic Shed is a ‘curious, glowing, object’ at night and transforms into a small pavilion/shelter during daytime. It is built with a steel frame that is light, yet durable, allowing the shed to be transferred anywhere for future use. The door, performance stage, and sales windows open-up by a series of hinges. Café seating, a video screen and electric outlet are deployed from inside allowing for basic event infrastructure. The mechanical crank and pulley systems inside the structure allow these functions to be fully deployed for events in less than 10 minutes.
The construction provided opportunities for a local contractor to mentor neighborhood youth through the process of the construction and pay them for the work. Two of the youth were hired on full time after this project was over.