Acting as a tour guide this weekend to my mother visiting from Portland, we found some very interesting situations in the alley network. The Arctic Club, one of my favorite buildings in the city, seems to have blocked off and embellished its alley with a lovely oyster tile no doubt to secure it as a back of house area and the conveyance of food, drink, and waste in a classy manner. You can climb up on top of the parking structure at 4th and Cherry and look down into this space. Imagine it converted into a gallery or glass-roofed greenhouse addition to the hotel. There is a party wall to the north that would need to be opened.
Also, one of my favorite alley-type spots behind the pioneer building begs to be looked at. It is almost always gated and I think acts as an entry for the office buildings that flank it. It’s viewable from the alley or the street. It’s amazing to see what brick and greenery can do to a tight urban space. I do however, wish this space wasn’t gated.
It’s on the west side of 2nd between James and Cherry. If anyone knows more about it, please fill me in.
I am pursuing various mediums at the moment on how to document and design within the alleys. Last night I tried built frame, a panoramic technique that lends itself well to documenting tight spaces. Depending on the size of the photos, one can almost be within the subject space due to the movement of the eye around the physically flat medium. I plan to collage drawing and painting over the tops of these first.