Photo Gallery | Conceptual plans spark ideas for South Main
Volunteer design teams are brainstorming to fill seven vacant and underused spaces or buildings downtown with fresh and creative ideas.
With 35 teams competing, the South Main Design Challenge is an initiative by the Downtown Memphis Commission to generate conceptual plans in the South Main neighborhood.
DMC Development Project Manager Brett Roler said ideas that come from volunteer teams are their suggestions for how these lots could be improved.
“The challenge is part of the DMC’s year-long focus on the South Main district. The purpose of the Challenge is to develop innovative and original ideas for how to reuse vacant and underutilized spaces and buildings within the district,” said Roler. “The South Main Design Challenge will apply the talent of local architects, urban designers, property and business owners, artists, students, and downtown stakeholders in visioning the highest and best future use of key development sites.”
Each team has been assigned to a specific site and asked to develop both a short-term concept and long-term vision for their site.
The short-term concept plan will imagine how to strategically transform the site into a community asset on a limited budget that is ideally less than $5,000 . The long-term vision plan should provide a concept for what high-quality future development could look like on the site.
“At the end of the process, all of the submitted ideas will serve as a knowledge base for future discussions about how to strengthen the South Main District through innovative development and design,” said Roler.
The commission just had its second unveiling of plans in an open house Friday. The final unveiling will be April 26.
Here are a few of the concepts that were released last week:
- With designers and project managers from archer>malmo, this team's conceptual plan says that in a downtown environment that is never at a loss for entertainment options – the one significant adventure that could be better represented is the silver screen. Read more about the Russell Hardware Theatre here.
- Another team, Main Guilders, with an idea for the Russell Hardware site wants to enhance the arts community in Memphis. Short term goals include art exhibitions and murals on the front of the building. Read more about it here.
- With team members from Archimania to Sullivan Branding, “A Lot of Knowledge” is a park-like place for locals, visitors and their dogs to interact and learn from each other. It fosters community engagement with its physical Facebook “wall” as well as organic knowledge sharing. Read more about it below.
- Another team’s project has a mission to inspire people to understand themselves as part of a larger community and fulfill their own creative potential. The plans involve bike and car sharing. The concepts have worked in other cities including Portland and Seattle. Read more about Share a Lot here.
- Team HGA, or The Horrell Group, Architects, designed a site plan called the South Main Backyard. See more about it here.
- One team is working on a concept called Sun Park. They said people would enjoy trees, the grassy lawn with crushed limestone walkways, benches and picnic tables. In their words – with plenty of restaurants on South Main, there is always a nearby delectable to enjoy while visiting SunPark. Read more about it here.