My campaign to fund my time at Harvard will be featured in today’s issue of the New York Times in the finance section. It’s incredible what an adventuresome idea can lead to. The alleys were a similar story.
Pick up a copy – this endeavor is an interesting alternative to student loans and should prove to be an interesting experiment.
Finally after a first round of edits, the book chronicling my travels, adventures, sketches, and photos from this year-long foray into alleyways is available at blurb.com. Please email me if you have any questions. You can purchase it from the link above!
Thank you for supporting my work.
– Daniel Toole
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of presenting my work in the International District’s Jamfest. This was the first alley site to be visited by the Tight Urbanism exhibit. For over a year now, the Wing Luke has been facilitating discussions regarding doing away with dumpsters in the historic Canton Alley and making it a model clean alley for the International District. The alleys in this neighborhood see an increible amount of dumping and food waste with the plethora of restaurants in the area. In addition to the latent problems, Canton alley posseses a very special history with it’s location between the two Kong Yick buildings. These buildings were built from funds pooled together by hundreds of individuals and families that reached the area during the turn of the century. Canton alley was not only a service alley like its’ other Seattle contemporaries, but actually housed a number of loft-style alley oriented apartments. These large apartments were almost like tenements in that multiple families shared each apartment and some had businesses in storefronts on the alley. These storefronts are still visible here and one of the apartments has been entirely refurbished to look like it would have at the turn of the century – you can organize a tour through the Wing Luke. I am excited to see the dumpsters come out of Canton Alley and for it to become a unique space for the neighborhood.
I would like to thank my friends Cameron Colpitts and Teddy Toyama for helping me move the exhibit around this weekend – pallets are heavy.
Last First Thursday in Pioneer Square, Firehouse Alley also had a great party where we had Irish folk music, hula hoopers, and marshmallow roasting in the alley! There was a great turn out and it is inspiring to think we started working on this alley a year ago and now it is seeing nearly 50-100 people come through every first thursday. Join us at the next party on August 3rd!
Tight Urbanism will continue to run at the AIA gallery in Belltown until next Friday before its move inot Canton Alley, behind the Wing Luke Asian Art Museum. Saturday, July 16, the exhibit will be a main feature of the very first Canton Alley Party! Please check this link for more info on Jamfest and the events to take place. This will be the exhibit’s first mobile outing into an alley and I hope to see you all there! The party will run from 6:30 to 9:30!
Map to Canton Alley
On another note, I will be posting the link to the final draft of my book, Tight Urbanism in the coming week and then the site may go silent for a bit as I have won another travel fellowship that will be taking me to Europe for 3.5 months starting August 21st. The link to my blog for this work is here. I will be building upon my research of the human scaled urban spaces of alleys with the evolution into general urbanism with an emphasis on climate responsive vernacular and medieval urbanism in Scandinavia and the Mediterranean. Please see the link above for my itineraries. If you have any advice or feedback, I would love to hear from you!
I hope you get a chance to check out the exhibit, and if you would like to have the exhibit temporarily somewhere, please let me know as it will be free to move after July 16, 2011!
PS- I hope you will stop by Firehouse and Nord Alley tonight for the Alley parties! I will be in Firehouse until 6:15, so stop by and say hello!
Thank you to everyone who came to the opening of Tight Urbanism at AIA Seattle this last Wednesday. Thank you as well to those that sponsored, advised, and helped with this whole study. I would like to thank the AIA Fellows’ Committee for allowing me this great adventure. The exhibit will run until July 1st at the AIA gallery in Belltown from 10-5 weekdays. If you would like a private tour, please let me know ahead of time and I will block out times throughout the day.
Additionally, the exhibit will move to Maynard Alley behind the Wing Luke Asian Art Museum for an alley party in early July. I will be leading a walking tour Saturday, June 25th in conjunction with the gallery exhibit that you can buy tickets for through the Seattle Architectural Foundation here.
Thank you to Richard Tran, a friend of mine, for taking fantastic photos of the exhibit opening Wednesday. I would also like to thank people that came through Firehouse Alley last First Thursday to see what we were up to! There are a few more alley parties and activities that will take place in Pioneer Square alleys this summer. Stay tuned here and on the tweet feeds to the right for when and where they will be.
I have consolidated my travel sketches, photos, and writing into a little book titled Tight Urbanism that I will be selling on here on the next post.
Thank you again everyone for the opportunity and support with this work.
– Daniel Toole
Please keep your calendars marked for my exhibit on my travels.
The exhibit, “Tight Urbanism”, scheduled for its’ opening reception May 11, 2011 will showcase the findings of the AIA Seattle Emerging Professionals Travel Fellowship travel through several mediums including photographs, sketches, video, and physical models. The exhibit is slated to run from May11 to July 1st, with a potential move to the International District in July.
I will be at the Nord Alley to hand out invites to the exhibit on Thursday, May 5 at their alley party. I highly recommend everyone to come to this for the debut of their permanent art installation in the alley, food, music, and more. Please stay tuned.
Let me know if you have any questions, or if you’d like to schedule a private tour of the exhibit, I am happy to take groups, individuals, and organizations throughout May and June.
– Daniel Toole
After a breath-taking day on the Great Ocean Road and more than one unforgettable experiences including a wild koala encounter, yesterday was spent exploring the laneways further discovering the incredible policies with which the city has literally transformed itself to catalyze an urban rennaisance in the last ten years. Delving into the policy of accepting graffiti as public art form, the transformation of liquor licensing to catalyze bars and destinations in every nook and cranny imaginable has created a city of urbanity. The inclined individual could spend a year exploring all the hidden gems.
I was fortunate to be able to speak to architect Sean Godsell in his office on Exhbition Street about Melbourne and his impression of the laneways. He seemed to enjoy the unique qualities of the city and said when he tries to go to a destination, he always takes the laneways as they offer a more human capillary form of movement through the city. He also said that the laneways are the biggest success for the city’s programs to pedestrianize and are a huge part of the identity of Melbourne.
I would like to thank Andrea Kleist, of the City of Melbourne’s Arts and Culture branch. She explained to me the ten year history of their Laneway Commissions, a program that reaches out to the arts community by providing an open competition for artists that allows them to pick their site and project. This is different than Sydney’s By George! arts commissions as it allows creative freedom and thus maintains a steady stream of interesting applicants every year. This is fantastic as it complements everything the planners, architects, and engineers are doing to transform the city. I will give a more detailed description of this decade-long program after reviewing the myriad documentation that the Public Arts Program gave me, thank you so much!
This is the kind of thing Seattle could be incredibly capable of doing. We have a large supply of artists, and a fairly steady stream of public arts commissions through 4culture, and various neighborhoods. The alleys could become a curated set of galleries fostering fantastic video, performance, installation, and site-specific art. It could run for the summer months annually.
Speaking of, I would like to thank everyone again for attending the Firehouse Alley activation party last Thursday. Richard Tran of the AIA Seattle Design Committee (above) and Justin Martin of SvR snapped some great shots of the activity shown below. This is only the beginning for this alley and Seattle’s alleys in general!
In an amazing feat of temporary permitting, culture, and a big screen, Alley World Cup game 1 brought nearly 130 people into Nord Alley late this morning. This is the most people I’ve ever seen in an alley in Seattle at one time. Chairs were out, food was brought in from local vendors and restaurants and an apparently solid moment of civic space took place. These games will be played all week at 11:30, come check it out. This is Seattle alley urbanism at its best. I heard some great quips as the game ended specifically one gentleman saying, “this was awesome, and I didn’t even get murdered in the alley!’. This is a fantastic step towards changing the collective perception of the potential of these spaces.
Thank you everyone for coming! It was awesome to see more than one other person, pigeon, or rat walking around in there this weekend! Our walk lasted for two hours and brought some interesting things to light. We moved from the Moore all the way to Maynard and Canton Alleys where we got to go in and speak with the owner of Sun May, who gave us a brief history lesson on the two alleys. Apparently they were live/work and the first two major blocks in the area. This could explain their having commercial space on three sides instead of just two.
There were many great questions asked and a lot of new things discovered. I would like to thank Lisa Quinn of Feet First and Todd Vogel of the International Sustainability Institute for opening their office n on a weekend to talk about their great space and initiatives. I would encourage everyone who attended the tour to tell their friends to walk through the alleys, imagine what they could be, plant things, and keep an eye on them. The city needs to look at them as pedestrian assets more and more until they are capable of turning them into just that. There is a lot of character, potential, and history within these spaces – we only need to bring them to the attention of everyone. Thanks to Heidi Oien for giving me the idea to do this and thanks to everyone who came out. Thanks also to Karann MacNealy, Animish Kudalkar, and Max Foley for taking photos along the way. I will be posting information shortly on a volunteer group that is gathering to paint and clean Maynard and Canton alleys in hopes that they can be returned to a great commercial and pedestrian area – so stay tuned.
Also, now on flickr – check out photos of our walk along with Jane’s walks across the U.S. and Canada! http://www.flickr.com/groups/janeswalk2010/pool/