The thesis of Robert Collins is approved.
Bob Kindig, Committee Chairman
Don Roark, Faculty Advisor
Gail Karn, Principal Outside Advisor
This thesis is dedicated to the lost pedestrian of Denver, Colorado. Thank you Bernard Rudofsky.
As my thesis of architecture, I am undertaking the design of Denver Public Market. This project is a 197,050 s.f. mixed use development to be located on a 2.7 acre site located along and including the l6th street viaduct, next to Union Station in downtown Denver, Colorado. The map below outlines this site.
Due to the rather 'amorphous' nature of this project and its corresponding title, which is all you really know right now, it is necessary I believe, to give some background on what exactly the project is. We might then better move into the thesis statement and research.
I have given the project the title "Denver Public Market" for the sake of convenience. I could say Denver Public Market and Theater with Retail and Housing, which would be more informative, but it doesn't fit on a title block. The project does in fact include a public market, a community theater, a variety of retail shops, and some housing.
So there is a public market, and the project known as Denver Public Market includes all of the aforementioned elements.
At this point in time, the public market portion of the project includes a large open, undefined space and a variety of smaller retail stalls which might be put together in a variety of combinations. The intent is to allow for flexiblity in the design of the project. Thus, one could realize separate buildings for varied functions as well as one large building housing public market, and theater, and retail, etc.
The remaining rather self-explanatory pieces of the program, with the market hall, have been broken down as followsj
I. Public Spaces
Market Hall 20,000 s.f.
II. Individual Retail Spaces
Retail Shops 23,400
Retail Stalls/Daystalls 10,500
S tudi os/Galleries 6,600
III. Housing 27,000
The focus of this thesis is on public place and spaces, and specifically, the public market and the resulting physical and psychological implications of these themes.
In the case of the distinct public elements of the program, this relationship is direct..It is important to note then, that the role of non public spaces such as the retail shops and housing is there particular relationship to public space and place, both in terms of the definition of that space as well as the resulting character of the enclosure and built form. Above all, the thesis is about people Snd their interrelationships in space.
"From ancient times, urban space has been the stage where human meeting takes place. Meeting does not necessarily imply agreement; primarily it means that human beings come together in their diversities. Urban space, thus, is essentially a place of discovery, a 'milieu of possibilities.' In urban space man dwells in the sense of experiencing the richness of the world." (1)
"The marketplace is sort of a 'melting pot' of society, a common leveling ground, where some of the respected and historic customs of the world may be enjoyed, where one can daydream a little and perhaps do a little soul searching in the midst of a beehive of activity, where the products of man and nature not only compete for attention, but complement each other as well... It is the one place where people can revert to being just human with no other requisite at all, where the ability to communicate, free of pressure and free of bigotry, also frees one from the fast paced, high living society of conformists and group oriented people who seem to make up our modern society." (2)
I have always been fascinated by the relationship between architecture and as Norberg-Schultz states, "human meeting" places and spaces within urban environments that become centers for this meeting. Louis Kahn once said, "A city is a place where a small boy, as he walks through it, may see something that will tell him what he wants to do his whole life." (3) As the small boy walks through the city, he is amongst many. A settlement, a city, is a gathering of things, as Norberg-Schultz states in The Concept of Dwelling. Inherent in this "coming together" is a diversity that stems from the variety
of people brought together, and from this diversity we find the other central property of the city; choice. Thus, the combination of the city as a place of meeting and a place of choice gives rise to a place of a "milieu of possibilities." An understanding of these basic notions of the city, and thus, the role of architecture and urban space as a place of meeting and choice, common agreement and variety, at once complementary and contradictory, is the central thrust of my thesis.
Good places of meeting in the urban environment can create a focus for that environment, a memorable place for the people, a physical as well as spiritual center or heart, a place which ultimately represents the diversity of the people that make up the gathering, as well as the unity of that place as a city. As an architectural thesis, I am challenging myself to explore the relationships between these issues and the form and space of architecture, from the role of the form in the city whole to the detail articulation of the facade, and ultimately, the undeniable inseperateness of this broad range. In fact, architecture and urban design must be brought together so that we can help to "mend" the current crisis in our cities, particularly American cities. This crisis is one of isolation and loneliness which, I propose, has been brought on not so much by a particular style or technology, but rather by a lack of understanding of the basic relationship between architecture and the city.
In many of the cities of the world that are commonly quoted for being good examples of what a city should be, there is an interrelationship of architecture and the overall form of the city such that we see both the wonderful variety that is the essence of the diversity of many people in one place, as well as an overall visual impression of the city, such that when one thinks of that place, they key in on certain images that represent this impression; a narrow winding street, an arcade, and so on. If I may, I think one can make
an analogy to a symphony. Different instruments create different and contrasting tones and melodies, but they all come together to create a memorable, unified piece. Simultaneously, one can hear the clarinet and the bass drum. Such is the city and its market.
In Denver, there is little opportunity for these urban experiences. Denver is largely a salute to corporate power, and appropriately, islands of this wealth tower towards the heavens. Any sense of heart or center has been ripped out by these monoliths. Thus, this thesis explores why this seems to be the case and the role of architecture and a specific type, the public market, might come to terms with it. In many ways, the market is a microcosm of the city and its variety. At the same time, it becomes a public place, and as a public place, it symbolizes something about this gathering in the city, it seeks to create a sense of unity and stabilization.
My attempts to come to terms with these apparent contrasting theories will be done through, first, a typological analysis of the public market and secondly, a morphological analysis of the public place in general. Through this I hope to convey the possibility of the following:
(1) Architecture can resolve the conflict between order and chaos,
(2) The aesthetic tradition of the public market can be a result of the expression of structure and materials, their scale, texture, color and connections.
THE MARKET IN HISTORY
Historically, the marketplace has served as a center for civil and social activity. Its being a place of meeting and choice in the urban environment is undeniable. The origins of the organized market can be traced back as far as 1200 B.C. China. Its first fixed manifestation was realized in Greece within the
agora. It was generally located in the center of a settlement, often as part of a larger, if not sacred public area. Public building in Greece carried on a tradition first seen in western architecture in Egypt as the public building grandiose. This grandiosity began to emphasize the singularity (4) of the landmark, that is a strong differentiation from private and commercial places.
In the medieval city, one finds the parallel development of both the market square and the eclesiastical square. Often, the market developed through a broadening of the street and thus was as irregular as the city itself. Late medieval cities defined market areas with more ordered space, in keeping with the tradition of antiquity. What one sees here is the beginning of the duality of the market as both regular and irregular in nature and form.
Stemming from the traditions of European cities, markets and market squares became a fixture in early America. By the early part of the 20th century, most large cities had large central municipal markets. Their success was based on them being a vital piece in the urban life cycle, supplying nearby residents with the economic and social satisfaction of dealing with nearby producers.
With the social changes brought on by the rapid technological advances of the early 20th century, the market's importance began to decline. The improved transportation led to the spread of the suburbs, the gradual disintegration of central city neighborhoods and the rise of the supermarket. In fact, the inability of the municipal market to survive was actually an unrecognized portent of the eventual decline of the central business district, with the movement away from the core of the city, since, with the exception of those in the largest cities, most municipal markets were centrally located.
In the late 1960's, as markets continued to drop by the wayside, a movement began to preserve the marketplace. This preservation or reestablishment has been influenced by several factors. To be sure, the market can circumvent costly distribution and transportation costs while the seller can realize a higher margin over costs. More importantly, though, seems to be the aesthetic of this meeting place as brought out at the start of this statement. It is continually being described as a place where rich and poor come together. This rich mix underlines its "publicness," a public that seems attracted not only to its opportunities, but its aesthetic.
THE "AESTHETIC" OF THE MARKET
In a sociological study of a Swedish market that I've included in the appendix, there is a discussion of "space ballet." This ballet is based on regularized activity, ritual if you will, and its juxtoposition to surprise and the unexpected. In tenant-buyer relationships, this comes about, for instance, in the expectation and dependability one might have with a particular vendor (Sam the butcher), versus the surprise of somebody or something new in the market (like being in a new store). This seems to be a part of the aesthetic attractiveness of the place, the expected and the unexpected.
My own market experiences are of distant Saturday mornings years ago with my family, at that age eye level with the produce. I most vividly remember the loud clamor of buying and selling, the drab, dingy, old warehouse with dirty old concrete floors. The cigarette butts dropped and stamped on provided it with its pattern and color. Most of all,
I recall the sunshine pouring through the sides of the open shed, illuminating the vegetables and the proud, ruddy faces of the merchants with an early morning glow as they hawked their produce.
It seems that what makes these places special is that people blossom into all the colors of their person in the form of their trade, their pitch, their heritage, their desires, their dreams.
A market is a place where "real people buy real and essential things." (5) Like this, the building which houses the market is real and essential in its utilization. It protects our heads from the rain while allowing for the sunshine to be admitted.
Inherent in the market is a flexibility for the seasons and the weather. For example, humble markets usually have side garage-like doors which can be opened or closed. As would seem to be appropriate in markets that often specialize in the sale of produce, a strong presence of nature is felt. Thus, sun warms us through the open sides, wind whistles through, and rain will pound the oft metal roof.
The market often has an unmistakable "gritty" quality that seems so appropriate to its function.
There is a great deal of this realness, a sort of uninhibited naked truth one finds there. The ruddy and weathered hands and face of a 72 year old farmer who has worked his entire life on the land illuminated by the glow of early morning light, to me is a fantastic symbol for the market. These qualities seem to be embraced in many marketplaces with a sort of naked truth in architecture. That which holds up the shelter, the beams and columns, are exposed. In general, the materials used are quite simple, with the detail being largely the evidence of how the building was constructed. So, joints, bolts and trusses are relied on for the detail. Often, this detail can become quite embellished, as the sketch of the capitol from Pike Place Market shows.
Spatially, within the apparent chaos of the market, an order is achieved. It may be determined by a regular built structure, or, perhaps at an outdoor farmers market, by the lines of a parking lot, and the widths of trucks. Significant in this is the realization of a distinct spatial figure, usually a
long linear figure, which has been recognized as lending itself to this activity and thus has become memorable in the minds of both sellers and buyers. This form from antiquity is now seen in our shopping malls.
Thus, the market is a lot like a stage that allows for the daily ritualized events to be enacted, the architecture acting as a backdrop which allows for this chaos whiJe at the same time ordering it. Most importantly I think, the market embodies its function as a place where real and essential things may be bought. Like many of the people who will be there, it hides nothing; like the weathered farmer, all is shown.
As I stated earlier, to come to a fuller understanding of this project demands not only an understanding of the market as a type, but also an understanding of the morphology of public places in the urban environment. An examination of public places is made for several reasons. Not only can the specific public pieces of the program benefit (theatre and market hall), but I believe the project as a whole can benefit in terms of the entirety becoming a public place. The essential question I seek to explore here is what makes a particular place public. As a public place in the city it can be a space defined by architectural elements. For the purpose of this statement, I will refer to the public built structure as the "public place."
In many ways, the public place, and certainly the public market, becomes a microcosm of the city. First, a city is variety and diversity. It is made up of a variety of people who have gathered together in one place and formed a settlement. The key issues here are the inherent variety found when many people come together and the meaning of that
coming together. This gathering implies a certain agreement, an agreement about dwelling in that place. First, in choosing that particular place as home, and more complexly, about the way the place shall be governed, or the way in which goods and products shall be exchanged. The public building, as the place which carries out the functions of these agreements, symbolizes this agreement and makes it manifest in its space and form.
As a means to symbolize the city, the public place then has traditionally sought to, in some way, make this agreement manifest through creating a powerful presence that contrasts with the more chaotic individualistic nature of the private sector of the city. "The public figure therefore stands forth as simultaneously simple and rich; it is easily imageable but invites for contemplation of its comprehensive content. Variety here becomes articulate form and density ordered composition." (6) In "The Image of the City,"
Kevin Lynch identifies this notion of the unifying landmark in terms of singularity, that is a unique figure is created that contrasts with the city, a figure that creates a simple and lasting image. It would then seem that a crucial issue is that which is related to the building's figure/ground relationship, its internal and external spaces that it defines as well as its form as it meets the ground and rises to the sky.
In "The Concept of Dwelling" and "Genius Loci," Norberg-Schultz develops the theory that the two-fold purpose of architecture is to provide orientation and identification. Orientation, as a sense of being in a place, is manifested by the way one is enclosed, that is the spatial figure of that enclosure. So, while the basic need for orientation is provided by space, the way space is enclosed, the built form, gives the place a distinct character with which we can identify with, and together,
orientation and identification create a place which is memorable. "A place is a space which has a distinct character." (7) Thus, a look at the specifics of the spatial and built figures of public places is necessary.
As a function of orientation, the spatial figure of the public place obviously must physically provide for the possibility for meeting to take place. Moreover, to make it a place which is memorable, it creates a distinct and simple image. The basic spatial figures found in the public place derive, as Lynch sites, from the most basic spatial types: path, node and district. The varied nature of these places in the city often become ordered and clearly defined in the public place. The rotunda might represent the crossing of two paths in the city. The galleria, the path itself.
The tradition of the market is one which often combines all three spatial types in both ordered and chaotic states. For example:
European markets are sometimes pitched in the most eloquent civic spaces, creating a chaotic foil to the order of the square.
The traditional market hall or shopping arcade overlays the confusion of market trading on distinct, mostly linear forms.
Often adjacent to socially and economically compatible retail and housing, the public market often becomes part of a distinct "district," something of an architectural combination of order and chaos.
The district's spatial chaos becomes distinct as a singular image through its differentiation from the city on an urban level. Characteristic of this district might be a breakdown in the regular grid of the city. Greenwich Village in New York and Quebec
City, Canada characterize this "Old Town." A stronger sense of enclosure and confinement, or unifying elements such as facade, technique and sinage can identify a district. China town in San Francisco is characteristic of this.
Above all, it is the singular spatial image of the public landmark which seems to be its foremost trait. This singularity then creates a memorable image. In allowing for meeting, it allows for it to participate in daily life, while its simple figures seek out a poetic understanding of this life, thus bringing the two together.
The spatial figure as such is a volume, when it is set into work, it becomes a building with a defined character, making a way of being between earth and sky manifest. Like the spatial organization of the public place, the built form too relies on distinct figures. As symbols they communicate meaning to the public about their way of being. For example, the basic figures from which all public buildings gain there form are tower, block, wing and dome.
Whereas private dwellings are in general simple and varied figural units expressing some meaning of dwelling, so we may find a gabled roof or a highly visible hearth, the public landmark is a more articulate composition of the basic figures mentioned above. Public buildings then are very often not an invention, but a combination of these.
The articulation of these figures is often ordered with regularity, symmetry and heirarchy. They serve with the figures to create a single, ordered, recognizable image that seeks to symbolize the agreements of the place and the inherent stability in those agreements. A distinct figure/ground relationship with its surroundings gives rise to the singular nature of the public place as a
landmark. The classic example of this is the Florence Cathedral in Italy, whose magnificent dome creates a strong landmark in its figural contrast to the chaotic, low-lying city around it. In Denver, one can see some of these characteristics found in the State Capitol building. Highly rusticated horizontal wings plant the building firmly and quite stably in the ground, relating to the earth.
As we up the form, the symmetry and heirarchy transcend it into a lightweight structure culminating in the dome as a symbol of the aspirations of the gathering as well as a realization of the spatial figure within. Thus, the use of the familiar language of figures, and a distinct articulate order give rise to a simple tri-partheid image of the building. Its strong relationship to earth and sky and this singularity's contrast to the more complex surrounding areas make it quintessentially public.
The singular image of a district of compatible buildings and uses a market often finds itself a part of can often be identified. In many cities, the "market district" is frequently characterized by low, horizontally oriented buildings which contrast to the verticality of the looming C.B.D.
As an example of the continuity one finds in a district, one can look at Denver's Lower Downtown. While spatially on the same grid as uptown, its horizontality in relation to the district verticals of uptown, and common heights of buildings help the area to "read" as a district of buildings rather than distinct objects. Its singularity is a function of shared "architectural points of view," such as height of building, degree of opening, scale of openings and materials. This "genius loci" defines both the variety and agreement of the city.
As both individual buildings and as part of districts, markets and market districts can display a singular memorable image in the tradition of the public place while allowing for the variety of the city to be expressed.
The public image is a function of a certain singularity and uniqueness that we see in a building or a series of buildings. In contrast to the poetry of architecture is the prose of man's life as symbolized by the market. The resolution of this contrast founds the main thrust of my explanation in this project. Secondly, I wish to explore the relationship between the "naked truth," the real and essential qualities of the market, the essence as I see of the marketplace prototype, and its relationship to the building. To restate these hypotheses then:
(1) Architecture can resolve the conflict between order and chaos.
(A) The spatial organization of the building can be structured in such a way as to allow the inherent flexibility, randomness and variety of the marketplace while creating a distinct spatial figure in the tradition of the public place.
(B) The built form of the market, its mass, facade and scale can resolve the conflict between the variety of the marketplace and its tenants and the traditional singular image of the public place by using and adapting the traditional public building language of figures.
(2) The aesthetic tradition of the public market can be a result of the expression of structure and materials and their scale, texture, color and connections.
The success of a public market is dependent on it being a functional necessity, a needed and vital piece in the life cycle of the urban environment, and not a vestige from the past. The re-emergence of interest in public markets represents the possibility of the market returning to some degree at least, as a prominent physical and social focal point within a city or community .
Millions of dollars have been spent renovating large urban marketplaces that often included traditional farmers' markets as a central component. Unfortunately, often in this renovation, the market seems to lose some of its traditional qualities when the place begins to stress exclusive boutiques selling scented candles. I believe there is a strong need for a place in downtown Denver which can serve both the function of providing necessities to nearby residents or the more unique to residents in the surrounding areas, as well as provide for the possibility of the aesthetic delight of such places.
Thus, this section attempts to look at the public market and the farmers market as it relates to both some summarization as a type as well as its relation to this setting of Denver. What follows is first, an exploration of two markets; Pike Place Market in Seattle and Govent Garden Market in London, and then the history of markets in Denver and their promise in the future.
To me, Pike Place Markets in Seattle embody the essence of the urban market, large or small. From its humble beginnings as an open air produce market in 1907, it has grown into a district of market buildings open air stalls and used clothing stores, and in general, has become a vital center for the immediate low-income residents of the area as well as for the city as a whole, which otherwise suffers from typical urban American sterilization at its core.
Much of the flavor of this market district comes from early 20th century immigrants from Europe and Asia, who came to America unskilled. They found a haven at the market, where a stall could be had for 50 to 85 cents a day. Immigrants from Japan, Italy, Greece, and the Philipines all came together and in the process gave the place a rich and varied mix.
The market cosists of a variety of produce and specialty food shops, groceries, restaurants, and general junk and odd-lot shops. They are organized around a 4-block linear outdoor market, specializing in the sale of fresh produce and foods. This structure serves as the focus for the district, with the remainder of the shops being contained in 4 market buildings and in various nooks and crannies throughout what has been set aside as of 1971 as a 7-block historic district. The general form of this district is then a series of low horizontal structures which contrast to the nearby towers of downtown Seattle.
One of the keys to a market is the character of its circulation. The changing drama of the place is a function of one's moving through it. At Pike Place, the circulation space serves to suspend, excite, and compel us to move forward as we seek out more. The scenes change and surprise us, and while the meandering passages and streets are varied, it is important to note that an overall character is created by this consistent irregularity.
This uniqueness of the circulation paths differentiate it from the traditional grid-related city circulation, and thus creates a sense of district which Kevin Lynch identifies as a third memorable urban space, along withpath and square.
This uniqueness of the circulation paths differentiate it from the traditional grid-related city circulation, and thus creates a sense of district which Kevin Lynch identifies as a third memorable urban space, along with path and square. One is reminded of the older sections of cities such as Quebec City in Canada whose meandering old city is a center in a sense for the city as a whole through its unique configuration in relation to patterns of space found elsewhere.
The buildings in the Pike Place Market district are very open in the sense that as one meanders into and out of interior and exterior space, the experience is of one place which is a result of a smearing, if you will, of these boundaries. There are few doors, and often merchandise and activity as well spill out onto the street. No inhibitions, no doors!
The built character of the district displays what I termed earlier as being a sort of 'nakedness', simple structures in which the necessities of that structure become the embellishment. Signage then, is very important. In fact, the large Public Market sign is perhaps the most visible realization of this notion.
Its magnificent metal support becomes the markets' obelisk. Naked light bulbs hanging from above corridors provide a rhythmic reiteration of these realities, a procession unaffected shades or globes.
Detail is much appreciated and desired in the market area, detail like the structure which holds up the Public Market sign or that which eclecticly adorns the columns that hold up that which protects our heads from the rain. A woman asked an architect at the market why modern architects don't do that. He didn't have an answer. The direct relationship of the character to its immediate function is crucial.
The market District has survived through some difficult times recently, and now, it struggles with and against the urban renewal in the area. This
renewal seeks to preserve the market, and in the process can and has violated some of the honest integrity of the market by displacing nearby lower income residents as well as repicing some of the shops tailored to those residents with boutiques tailored to tourists.
Yet, the area remains a vital place in Seattle that expresses /Seattle' through both the people and products it offers and the setting that sets it in motion.
The special honesty and simple truths found at Pike Place I believe are seen in its architecture, which expresses not only this honesty in its character but the market's variety in its form and space. It seems apparent to me that architecture is and can be an important factor in creating and achieving the 'market aesthetic' by not undermining its purpose as a place of real and essential and of variety, but itself expressing these ideals.
Like Pike Place Market, the area around the Govent Garden Market has been at one time a market district.
The Covent Garden Market was the central focus for this area. However, unlike Pike Place Markets, its role in the community has changed. No longer as much a traditional market in the sense of emphasizing the sale of produce and food, it now houses specialty boutiques. The Market underwent extensive renovation in 197^. I am particularly interested in its original state as a market.
The market was built from 1828-1830, designed by one Charles Fowler. It was sighted on a piazza originally designed by Inigp Jones. The market took the form of two outer 'ranges' with repetitive retail spaces lined by arcades on either side. In the center, a third range housed an interior tbp-lit 'street'.
The space between this center range and the two side ranges was open to above.
In his plans, Fowler had to encompass the varied functions of the market, each well entrenched in its own traditions. In particular, he had to meet the needs of growers and buyers wanting to pitch their carts within the market area, and the demands of wholesale and retail salesman for more permanent shop accomodation. Thus, the arcades and courts served the more temporary, the interior ranges, the more permanent.
The building is of Greek Revival style and through this it seems to summon order out of chaos, and gives dignity to the pandemonium of market trading. A common trait of public landmarks is to give a poetic order to the chaos of the city, and this order is often manifested in an identifiable language and its application. Here we see classical columns in a regular rhythym, giving both spatial and visual order to the market while allowing for the variety inherent to be expressed. That is, ultimately, the variety of the market and the order of public place become one facade and a poetic description of life in the city.
The history of markets in Denver parallels closely the national trends I've found in most American cities. In the early to mid twentieth century at least one if not more thriving marketplaces could be found in most cities, and, just as quickly as they came into prominence, they faded out of the urban picture and were repleced largely by the supermarket.
The first permanent market in Denver of note was known as the City Market, begun in 1899 and located on W. Colfax at Cherry Creek. This market served Denver's farmers through the early part of this century, but as the city was growing rapidly at this time, it quickly proved to be inadequate.
Farmers, disgruntled over the existing market conditions, banded together to form the Growers Public Market Association in 1939 and negotiated with the Union Pacific Railroad in an effort to construct a new market which they did at 29th and Broadway. The market became known as the Denargo Market. At roughly the same time, five other rail companies collectively came together and constructed the Wazee Market, located on land now occupied by the Auraria campus between 9th and 13th streets.
Both of these markets were quite similar in form and function. Located adjacent to rail yards, they both sought to emphasize Denver as an emerging trade center, with a strong emphasis thus on wholesale trade. Each market did however house a growers' market for the public.( At its inception, the Wazee Market contained 2^-8 growers' stalls). Both markets took the form of 2 long rows of brick buildings, flanked by spurs of rails and a large amount of open between the structures for trucks to back in against loading platforms. The floors of the buildings were concrete.
In its heydey, the Denargo Market was a place of great ethnic variety. Immigrant farmers of Italian,
Japanese, Mexican, and even Hindu descent sold at the market. The market would begin its day well before the 6:30 am public opening, and half the growers' stalls would be empty by 7s30.
The construction of these buildings, in being erected.'.largely by transportation companies, emphasized function and economy in space and material. I think much of the traditional 'grittiness' I have spoke of that is associated with markets is a direct result of this premium on function, which seems quite appropriate as a venue for the sale of real and essential things.
As I pointed out in the statement, suburban sprawl cut into the municipal market's business, as well as reducing the number of farmers immediately adjacent to the metropolitan area. Today, the Denargo Market has become strictly a wholesale market while the Wazeei Market no longer exists.
The changing social and economic character of society has been mirrored in the livelihood of these markets. Unfortunately, with their demise has come the removal of what many might have or would agree to have been among Denver's better places to be.
In recent years, a renewed interest in the need for some of the services these places provided for the local area has emerged. The renewed interest and the viability of markets in today's society by the presence and success of several farmer's markets in the area, including one held this summer and fall at RTD's Market Street Station to me represents the fertile ground in which a larger Public Market may emerge.
The revival of the farmers market which is
taking place all over America is not particularly a response to the alienation of grower and consumer which is an inherent part of our modem food marketing structures. Although a much needed re-acquaintance of the people who eat but do not grow food with the people who grow food is a happy by-product of a farmers' market, the reasons for the revival of farmers markets are not nostalgic but practical and reflective of some basic concerns about our food systems."(l)
Indeed, there seems to be many advantages to a farmers market:
* can provide lower cost food to consumers and higher prices to farmers.
* can support local farmers rather than corporate farms.
* can support an allegiamce of consumers and farmers.
* can supply consumers with fresher foods.
In 1978, a farmers market was held at one of Auraria's parking lots. The particular value of this market was that it was run and studied by Colorado State University in conjunction with the U.S. Deptartment of Agriculture. Farmers were generally skeptical about the market and on its first day, only 2 showed up. However, 1,000 consumers showed up, and the 2 poor farmers were overwhelmed with people shoving money at them demanding fresh produce. The next week, many more farmers showed up convinced now that it could succeed. In fact, one family reportedly earned enough from the market to send their daughter to college.
The excerpts from that study that follow provide a background of information on the people involved and their views.
1. Hunger Action Center, "Market Organizer's Handbk.,pl.
The site I have chosen for this project is a 2.67 acre site wedged between Union Station and the l6th Street Viaduct, streching from Wynkoop Street, over Wewatta Street and the train tracks behind Union Station to Delgany Street.
The unique location of this site necessitates an examination of the great variety of existing influences on the site. As a Site Analysis, this section will establish the assumptions that will be worked with in regard to the large undeveloped lands beyond Union Station.
What follows is a study of the surrounding factors and influences, particularly in terms of its Lower Downtown site.
The site I have chosen for the Public Market lies at the fulcrum between several distinct areas within central Denver. In being at this fulcrum, it may be thought of as a manifestation of the present with the past and future lying to either side. That is, the developed side to the south and east known as downtown Denver and the relatively undeveloped lands to the north and west known as the Platte Valley.
The area known as downtown Denver is bounded largely by the Platte Valley. The remaining "edge" can be defined by the beginnings of the surrounding neighborhoods. In this downtown area, one finds many of the facilities you might expect in the central business district of a city: governmental, cultural, high-rise business, retail and some housing. A component within the downtown, the component in fact which the site finds itself within, is known as Lower Downtown. I will go into greater detail later with Lower Downtown, but for now suffice it to say that the area distinguishes itself from the newer uptown areas by being a section of low-rise older structures that are by and large the few remnants left of that kind of downtown.
While these areas form a major part of the existing context, no less important is the undeveloped Platte Valley, an area of ancient train yards and warehouses. The Valley's proximity to the Platte River and Cherry Creek gave it early prominence in the functioning of the city, but has since lost this vitality with changing technology and social conditions.
The Platte Valley has thus become a 500-acre tear in Denver's urban fabric. This gritty, industrial wasteland offers much potential for the future, not only in terms of its prime location, but in its unique character; a character that might be maintained through the reuse of existing structures.
A. "Lower Downtown"-medium density mixed use area of unique shops and studios with some housing and many old warehouses that are being redeveloped.
B. Main retail district for downtown Denver with the l6th St. pedestrian mall at its center.
G. High-rise laden financial district of downtown Denver,high density.
D. Civic and Governmental center featuring city and state oriented facilities.
E. Auraria Higher Education Center.
F. Denver Center for the Performing Arts and Currigan Hall Convention Center.
G. Medium to low density commercial area.
H. Medium to low density mixed use areas featuring mainly housing.
I. Platte Valley, largely undeveloped area featuring old train yards and several warehouses.
A. Union Station-railroad station and accompanying open space in front of building.
B. l6th St. Mall-pedestrian mall with shuttle bus service. At each end are public transportation nodes servicing surrounding areas.
G. Tabor Center/Larimer Square-focal retail area in downtown featuring Tabor Center retail mall along l6th St., Writer Square mixed use development with open exterior connection between 15th and l6th Streets to Larimer Square, a block of restored buildings featuring specialty retail.
D. Denver Center for the Performing Arts on top, with Currigan Hall Convention facility below. Feature a number of theaters as well as the convention hall,and a large, mostly unused galleria which bisects the DCPA.
E. Civic Center Park. This classically planned green space filled with trees is surrounded by civic buildings including State Capitol,City Hall, City Library and Denver Art Museum.
F. Confluence Park at Cherry Creek and the Platte River,focal point of Greenway system along these waterways.
The site I have chosen lies at the edge the special B-7 District that encompasses Lower Downtown.For the purposes of this project, I would intend it to be zoned as a planned unit development(PUD). Parking and other specific points related to this are outlined in the appropriate places throughout the document. The intent of these decisions is still to maintain the intentions founded in the B-7 Zone.
"This district(B-7 Zone), is intended to provide for and encourage the preservation and vitality of older areas that are significant because of their architectural, historical and economic value. A variety of land uses will be permitted in order to facilitate the re-use of existing structures without jeopardizing or reducing zoning standards promoting the health, general welfare and the preservation of the comprehensive plan. To preserve the existing scale of buildings in the area, the floor area ratio is minimized. Premiums for additional floor area axe provided to encourage new buildings to conform to the style and character of the area."
(From the Denver Zoning Code;Denver
Planning Office,1983;Sec.59-377,p. *4-287. )
i6th St. Mall pedestrian circulation with public transportation nodes that service surrounding areas.
rimary bus and auto circulation through central business district.
Primary auto circulation around the downtown area with connections to surrounding neighborhoods and interstate highways.
The importance of Lower Downtown in the future of downtown Denver has greatly increased in recent years due to the destruction of much of Denver's past in Upper Downtown to make room for the burgeoning "Central Business District". Its value seems to lie in giving Denver a sense of place particular for Denver in that one senses where this gathering of people has come from and why. Ironically, this sense of past becomes a vital to a successful future.
The area known as Lower Downtown can be defined roughly by 20th St. and Speer Blvd; and Larimer St. to the railyards. The proximity of this area to the confluence of Cherry Creek and the Platte River, recognized as the birthplace of Denver, helped it to become the first center of activity in the area by the late 1850's. Originally known as St. Charles, Lower Downtown hosted a concentration of residential, retail, government, and support functions, with Blake Street becoming the principal business avenue.
As is the case with seemingly every city, a fire razed most of the wooden buildings in the area. This occured in 1863. Following this fire, we can follow Lower Downtown's development through four phases.
The first phase occured after the fire. The new buildings built were primarily of brick to insure protection against fire. Within two years after the fire, most of Lower Downtown was rebuilt. These new structures were characteristically narrow two story structures with brick used in a simple manner to articulate arched window and door openings. Constitution Hall at 1501 Blake St. exemplifies this first phase that accounts for 20% of the existing buildings in Lower Downtown.
The second phase of building was brought on by the advent of the railroad in Denver around 1870.
Now, previously isolated Denver was linked to the
rest of the nation and the world. This link spurred new business activity and growth as well as a passion for some "grandeur" for Denver, perhaps seen as a way of civilizing the "wild westness" of Denver. (Today's variation is to import sick major league baseball teams.) Thus, fueled by the riches of Leadville silver, this second phase featured an increase in both building size and ornament. The railroad had made available non-local materials such as stone and cast iron for these larger buildings (up to four stories in height). The Oxford and Barth Hotels represent this more eclectic era which accounts for nearly 50% of the existing buildings in Lower Downtown. They also represent the peak of the social and financial life of the district.
Following an economic panic in 1893 the central emphasis in Denver shifted up 17th Street towards the Brown Palace Hotel and the State Capitol and Lower Downtown became a large "storage room" for Upper Downtown. So, this then is the third phase of building here, the warehouses that were built for this storage. These buildings were much larger than the ones from the previous two phases, featuring taller floor-to-ceiling heights and laxge strotural bays. They characteristically fall into two groups based on construction type: load bearing walls with expressed pilasters and wide spandrels, or metal structure and facade with ribbon windows of wire glass and metal framework. Union Station and the Sugar Building exemplify this phase.
By World War I, the area began a long and gradual decline, and ironically, its oblivion as a storage area saved it from the rash of development that has recently moved down from uptown. Now that Denver has effectively caught its breath from this development, it is discovering with increasing
intensity the value and richness of Lower Downtown, a richness based in its varied history. The time etched into its facades, is especially of Denver because it offers a layer upon layer archeological history, and now we are adding the fourth layer. Today, renewed interest in Lower Downtown is the result of several factors:
(1) Growing awareness of architectural history (for instance Larimer Square),
(2) The creation of the Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) and its Skyline Urban Renewal Project, adding value to Lower Downtown, and
(3) The creation of B-? zoning.
The special character of Lower Downtown is a major influence on this project. An understanding of it on specific architectural grounds can lead to a better understanding of how the building can fit into its context. With this area being perceived by the general public as a distinct district, this is a vital issue.
The following is that character as it relates to the basic parts of a building.
Because of the "new shiny verticality" of downtown Denver, there is a great sense of horizontality to Lower Downtown that is a function not only of tbse buildings' lack of this height, but their relatively small variation in height. The masses on each block generally are of two types:
smaller 20-30 foot wide structures lined together on a single block,
large warehouse-type structures which often can cover a whole block.
In each case, the respect of the street, and similar heights bring the pieces
together, and a distinct "genius loci" is observed.
While there is a variety of facades found in Lower Downtown, there are many recurring similarities.
-on many blocks, one can draw imaginary cntinuous horizontal lines within which all openings fall.
-openings strongly articulated as deeply recessed.
-structure is expressed on most facades, capped by cornices.
-signage is important, sometimes the whole facade. Generally they are painted right on the building.
The most powerful unifier in Lower Downtown is the use of common material, namely brick. Concrete and plaster structure and demarcation detail the brick fronts. Inherent in the materials is a psychological warmth, rich texture and deep shadows.
A balance of street space is struck in Lower Downtown that is a function of the relative continuous bulling heights and this average height's 1:1 ratio to the street. This is sharp contrast to central downtown.
There is also the wonderful recurring over/ under and inbetween confined spaces that one finds as a result of wandering under viaducts and down alleys. Its contrast to the open sunny spaces in front of Union Station offer rare variety in the city.
Primary Area Uses
A. Most of the old warehouses located within this area. Primary uses are as office space,storage,and vacancy.
B. 2-4 story commercial restorations featuring specialty retail,office space and a little housing.
C. Similiar in density and character to B, but focus of activity here is in design related professions (Denver Design District).
Some small warehouse activity remains.
D. High-rise office and housing.
E. Platte Valley industrial area featuring trains and trucks.
a. Union Station-central rail road facility.
b. Central Post Office warehouse.Future reuse,possibly as parking.
c. Oxford Hotel-elegant hotel with nightime entertainment.
d. Market St. Station.-Terminus to mall with bus service to surrounding areas and shuttle up l6th St.Open space most
e. Denver Design Center-new use as focus for design related fields in Lower Downtown. Old icehouse.
Highland and North
_^One way traffic with number of lanes used.
Two way traffic with number of lanes used.
Primary vehicular access into and out of Lower Downtown.
0.0 Moderate to high intensity, pedestrian movement.
Moderate to low intensity pedestrian movement.
O Low intensity pedestrian movement.
One of the main reasons for choosing this site was its proximity to an existing public landmark; Union Station, and to the railyards and trains.
First, it is my feeling that in combination with this existing structure, a new public place could both emphatically reintroduce the area as public and promote the full realization of Union Station's spaces in a way sympathetic with its historic function.
What follows is a brief outline of the character of Union Station and the railyard's role in the past, and then Union Station's architectural character as public landmark and how this is made manifest.
The first rail service out of Denver, a city initially scorned by the transcontinental link as a 'dead place', occured when a rail link was made to Cheyenne in 1870. The rapid increase in connections after that gave rise to the construction of the first Union Staion structure in 1881. Its most dominant features were a 180' clock tower at its center and a wonderful tree-filled park in front of the station where now one finds a parking lot.
At this time, the station stood alone in Lower Downtown, but its increasing role as a center of activity spawned a wave of commercial development surrounding it. The rapidly increasing traffic through the station in the l890's necessitated an increase in the number of tracks from the original 7 to 13. 2 tracks in fact ran in front of Union Station on Wynkoop St.
The direction of transportation from the station not only occured outward carrying passengers to the mountains and the plains, but inward toward the heart of downtown via a trolley that ran along 17 St.
Thus the area was the true transportation hub and gateway into and out of the city. To mark this, a large arch was erected in front of the station in 1906 carrying a WELCOME greeting on one side and the Hebrew parting salutation MIZPAH on the other.
The form of Union Station underwent some significant changes at this time. In 189^-, the structure was badly damaged by fire. It was renovated following the fire and then added onto in the form of the large vaulted center section that exists today. This addition also functioned to accomodate the continued increase in traffic through the stsion.
This was a grand time for the railroads and its station. The station welcomed presidents to huge throngs and sent troops off to war. The trains made continuous trips to the mountains and the general enthusiasm of the rail industry during this era was characterized by an on-going competition to see which line could make the Denver-Chicago run the fastest. This enthusiasm carried over into the public. In 19^0, 15,000 people showed up for the initial sendoff of the new Texas Zephyr. The optimism of the era in fact, also showed in the trains' names; Super Chief, Silver King, and the Aristocrat. Finally, the Welcome Arch was covered with neon from head to toe.
Sadly, the arch had to come down because it achieved the fated traffic hazard status. This event in fact marked the beginning of the slow, steady decline of the railroads.
Today the yards are used mainly to move freight, though Amtrak and an occasional private train to the mountains do move some passengers. As one walks through the station and the tracks beyond, it feels eerily like a museum. As you hear your footsteps echo through central hall of the station, one can hardly imagine pushing your way through a crowd of travelers to catch a train.
The golden era of the train is symbolized to me by the old steam locomotive, the iron horse, an
explosion of motion, with every visible part turning and smoke pouring from its stack. There is a certain symbolic truthfulness I think to the train with all its parts exposed, churning, breathing almost like a man. Machines were more like men then, unique and individual. Today, machines and I think buildings correspondingly have become sleeker and less related to man. They are less awkward and perhaps less related to their specific place of being. There are fewer exposed parts, more is hidden. In a striving for some progressed ideal, we are instead reaching for an alienating universality. We are fast today, and there is less detail for our speed.
This area of the station and the yards I think embodies some of the same ideals that the Public Market seeks to embody. It must then transcend them with the same simplicity and clarity.
"Monumentality springs forth from the eternal need of people to create symbols for their activities and for their fate or destiny, for their religious beliefs and for their social convictions."
-S. Giedion,"A Need for a New Monumentality", ISM-.
Union Station is undoubtedly a public monument for the city of Denver. As a public place and monument, it has sought out a certain singularity in the creation of a bold expression of agreement about dwelling in this place. The loss of such places from the urban landscape, whether altogether or in terms of functional vitality, is an unfortunate state of things which has contributed to the growing lack of identity in modern cities. The success of this thesis relationship to the existing landmark will rely not so much on a direct architectural interpretation
of Union Station, but rather in reaching an understanding towards the meaning of symbol and landmark as they pertain to Union Station such that the addition of a new built form can reinforce the place as public and complement the existing 'monument'. I think there are several ways in which Union Station function as symbol.landmark,public place, and as eluded to, something of a monument.
1. Function- As it historically functioned as a gateway to Denver, Union Station involved most people who lived here at one time or another.
It enacted a relationship then between the individual and the poetic symbol of agreement of public place. This interaction, especially in the case of a train station with its possible emotive connotations, becomes embecidled in the general public memory. One senses to be more a part of the agreement and thus the monument.
2. Distinctness- As I mentioned in my statement, public building's often are singular and unique figures in relation to the 'genius loci' of a particular place. A simple and oft-used public figure is used at Union Station, that of 2 wings and a central block that houses a large public space. The large arched windows in front underline this space as public in relation to the rest of the building and area in general through their' differentiation to smaller openings. I think this 'readability' is important. In addition, the different materials and color of the structure, and its wonderful signage help it achieve a unique yet familiar form that becomes then both public and Denver.
3. Visibility- This relates to the overall built form as it relates to space in the horizontal and vertical planes. Perhaps the most memorable and important characteristic then here is the building's termination of the powerful 17th St. axis. This functions for Union Station the way a tower might function for another public monument.
Denver receives on the average 70 percent of the total possible sunshine throughout the year. Clearest days occur in the fall and cloudiest in the spring.
Solar radiation varies with latitude and season. Incoming radiation has a value of about 2 gram calories per square centimeter per minute at an angle perpendicular to the outer boundary of the atmosphere. Tfte solar collector on a Denver house will receive about half that rate of energy during an average summer solar day.
MONTHLY AND ANNUAL SUNSHINE AND CLOUD DATA
Month Percent of Possible Sunshine Number ofa Clear Days Number ofa Partly Cloudy Days Number ofa Cloudy Days Mean Sky Cover (Tenths)
January 72 10 10 11 5.5
February 71 8 9 11 5.8
March 70 / 8 10 13 6.0
April 66 7 10 13 6.1
May 65 6 12 13 6.2
June 71 9 13 8 5.0
July 71 9 16 6 5.0
AugU9t 72 10 14 7 4.9
September 74 13 9 8 4.4
October 73 13 10 8 4.4
November 66 11 9 10 5.3
December 68 11 10 10 5.3
Total 70 115 132 118 5.3
USES OF THE SOLAR CHART
To fmd the sun's position for a given date and time, select the point of intersection of appropriate lines The sun's altitude at various times of the day is read off by means of the concentric circles and the azimuth is the bearing shown by the line radiating from the center through this point of intersection. (Figure 4.)
Shadow angles are found by placing the shadow angle pro tractor (Figu-e 5) over the solar chad with the centers coinciding and the base line oriented to represent the wall In this position the central line (C) of the protractor points in the direction of a prrppnd'Cula* to the w all The required point on the soiai chan is located and the graduations on the radial and curved lines of the potractor show respectively the horizontal and vertical shadow angles
The shadow angles tor a given wall are found by placing the Protractor over a Solar Chan with centres coinciding and the base line oriented to represent the wall The point on the chan is located for the selected position of the sun The graduations on the radial and cu'ved lines through this point show respectively the horizontal and vertical angles which the sun's rays make with a line perpendicular to the wall
There are three principal uses of the solar chart First, to define the shape and exlpnt rf sharlmr cast upon a surface; second, to predict the amount of penetration of sunlight into a room or between buildings, and third, to predict the time at which a given point wit! receive sunlight, either in a room or on a building wall or window.
The following chart can define the shape and extent of a shadow cast upon a surface, predict the amount of penetration of sunlight into a room or between buildings, and predict the time at which a given point will receive sunlight. Its use is explained below. It could he particularly helpful for this building and its nature.
Denver lies in the semi-arid rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Mean annual precipitation equals 15.51 inches with the bulk of the moisture coming in the spring months. The winter months are normally the driest months. Daily precipitation amounts greater than or equal to 0.10 inches can be expected on the average of 88 days per year and the maximum daily rainfall recorded at Denver is 3*55 inches.
DAILY, MONTHLY AND ANNUAL PRECIPITATION DATA [inches! DENVER, COLORADO
Month Total Precipitation Mean Number a of Davs with Precinitat ion ^,.01 inch Snow Mean Number a of Days with Snow 1.0 inch
Mean Monthlv Maximum Monthly Minimum Maximum 24-hour Monthly Mean Maximum Monthly
Jan .61 1.44 0.01 1.02 6 8.4 23.7 2
Feb .67 1.66 >L_ . 0.01 1.01 6 8.0 18.3 2
Mar 1.21 2.89 0.13 1.48 a 12.6 29.2 4
Anr 1.93 4.17 0.03 3.25 9 9.6 m or rj 3
May 2.64 7.31 0.06 3.55 10 1.5 13.6 *b
Jun 1.93 4.69 0.10 3.16 9 Tc 0.3 0
jui 1.78 6.41 0.17 2.42 9 0.0 0.0 0
Aup 1.29 4.47 0.06 3.43 8 0.0 0.0 0
Sep 1.13 4.67 T0 2.44 6 1 .9 21.3 *
Oct 1.13 4.17 0.05 1.71 5 3.8 31.2 1
Nov 0. 76 2.97 0.01 1.29 5 7.6 39.1 2
Dec 0.43 2.84 0.03 1.38 5 6.5 30.8 2
Total 15.51 7.31 Tc 1.55 88 59.9 39.1 18
Denver area temperatures typify a mild interior continental region. Extremes of hot and cold temperatures lasting beyond 5-6 days are a rarity. The diurnal temperature range between night and day is greater than the winter to summer swing. The table below gives the mean and extreme temperature summary as recorded by the U.S. Weather Bureau in Denver,GO.
MEAN AND EXTREME TEMPERATURE SUMMARY lF) DENVER, COLO.
Month Daily V-axirur Daily Minimum Month!v Mean Record Hiph Record Low Normal Depree Davs Base 65F Mean Number of D vs Tp.r.nerat nres
90F and above 32CF and below '
Jan 43.5 16.2 29.9 72 -25 1088 0 0 30
Feb A A. 2 19.4 32.8 76 -30 902 0 0 27
Mar 50.1 23.8 37.0 84 -11 868 0 0 27
Apr 61.0 33.9 47.5 85 - 2 525 0 0 13
May 70.3 43.6 57.0 96 22 253 0 * 2
Jun BO. 1 51.9 66.0 104 30 80 110 5 0
Jul 67.4 58.6 73.0 104 47 0 248 15 0
Aup 65.8 57.4 71.6 3 0] 41 0 20R 9 0
Sep 77.7 47.8 62.8 97 20 120 54 2 1
Oci 6b.6 37.2 52.0 88 3 408 5 0 9
Nov 53.3 25.4 39.4 79 - R 7f8 0 n 25
Dec 46.2 38.9 32.6 74 -18 1004 0 0 29
Annua 1 6A.f) 36.2 50.1 10A -30 6016 625 32 162
The chart below provides generalized information regarding from which directions various weather elements attack a structure in Denver. West frequently brings the strongest winds, north the coldest, and northeast the gentlest. The arc of effective sunshine is much smaller from the south in winter than in summer. Snow usually blows in from the northeast quadrant and rain from the west and northwest.
DIRECTED WEATHER ATTACK, DENVER
WIND SPEED INCREASES BETWEEN BUILDINGS
ind is accelerated as it enters a passage between buildings. The effect is maximum when passage is narrow. 2 to 5 meters in width (W). If buildings are tall, the maximum increase (for a given width) occurs when wind enters the passage at an angle of 0 to 45 degrees.
"The "Art of Building Cities" has to find its way into legislation. The complex architectural scheme, precise types of urban space(streets, avenues,arcades,squares,colonnades) will have to replace the two-dimensional zoning spaces. A functionally complex and visually simple spatial continuum has to replace the contemporary system of disintegrated functions and buildings; inside a precise relationship of building-typology and morphology of urban spaces, we reestablish a dialectic of public buildings(monuments) and urban fabric. This relationship has been explored by architectural archeologists and is now becoming instrumental in urban renewal... The method we are slowly elaborating is both precise enough to create built and spatial continuity and general enough to allow great functional flexibility and change. It is a method where time and memory become part of a dialectic composition."(l)
As stated in the site analysis, the relationship between building and city in downtown Denver is disruptive rather than continuous. As unrelated objects, they have little to do with each other and consequently undermine the structure of the urban matrix. Precise and simple types of forms and a corresponding humane urban space based not on un-comprehendable intellectualized inventions but rather basic ways of being in the city is necessary to return the city to man.
As public place and space, this project must accept these relationships and hopefully, express their essence.
1. Leon Krier,"The Reconstruction of the City",in Rational Architecture,Brussels,1981,p.42.
In order to realize the building's role in the larger urban fabric, it is necessary to outline certain concepts that have been put forth by various groups and agencies in regard to the possible future form of central Denver. Particular to the interests of this project, is a need to define some framework for the future re-use of the largely vacant lands directly northeast of Union Station. This area has been included in a larger 500 acre parcel known as the Platte Valley. In conjunction with the Denver Planning Office, the Denver A.I.A. recently proposed a series of concepts related to the development of the Platte Valley.
Of particular interest to this project are several ideas that were put forth that would have a direct bearing on this project. Without realizing any concept in "hardline" fashion, acceptance of certain ideas into this thesis can help serve it from the standpoint of providing a base for contextural relationships. Among the ideas:
* Consolidating and burying or depressing the railroads through the Valley's central area and eliminating all viaducts. It is my feeling that the consolidation of the railroads behind Union Station is a good idea. However, burying all of them might disrupt the "continuity" of the area.
I believe that the presence of some of the railroads can allow for a better continuum of the site in both a historical and visual sense.
* Extending the city grids into the valley region.
This seems a valid concept by continuing Denver's historic urban design structure. New structures such as the Market can align themselves to a cohesive urban pattern. Important connections to surrounding areas can be more aesily established.
Maintain Union Station as the symbolic keystone which relates northwest Denver with the C.B.D.
The active and vital Market can reinforce and complement this. However, its specific relationship to the northeast will be determined.
Develop mixed-uses throughout the area. This is highly appropriate towards creating a sense of neighborhood downtown which will attract people to live there.
Extend l6th Street as a transit and pedestrian link to north Denver. With the nature of my project,
I am most interested in this from a pedestrian standpoint. The re-use of the viaduct for this purpose could create an exciting continuum by using part of the existing fabric in the Platte Valley.
In addition,the viaduct could provide a great oppurtunity for view. Finally, dynamic vertical relationships could be struck through the circulation up and down from the viaduct.
Develop the lands adjacent to Cherry Creek and the South Platte as an open space system which provides a variety of physical settings. This could provide a destination and vital public termination of the powerful axial relationship of the C.B.D. to its birthplace.
The building can re-establish the language of the square. As market place and square, Denver could, in the tradition of fine European cities, realize a network of public places with varying function, market/retail, civic, cultural. As a function of this variety, each square has a distinct built character and spatial figure that is a result of the tradition of that public forum. Each becomes more memorable as a result, distinct. Physically, this public space can provide destination from the C.B.D.'s l6th and 17th streets as well as be a joint if you will, between uptown and future public focuses, for example, recreational park areas, along the Platte.
This project, through the use of the viaduct, could make a specific contribution to the larger needs as addressed of the downtown area. The pedestrian connection above and potential natural growth of structures below could make for a powerful axial passage and dynamic'vertical events. The route can physically link North Denver new neighborhoods below, and downtown together, as well as spiritually link more distant areas to public place through view.
The project can be a catalyst in terms of establishing a continuum of the special character of the Platte Valley through making active and not passive use of existing fragments. Examples include the pedestrian and built uses of the viaduct, the maintenance of Union Station as a transportation facility, the active presence of the railroads. The area can ultimately maintain much of its existing character while establishing a relationship to new buildings based on the aforementioned considerations of form and space.
The site map and section on the following page show some of the specific manifestations of these ideas as they pertain directly to the site:
l6th Street Viaduct remains with pedestrian activity only.
15th Street Viaduct remains as two-way vehiciar access.
Major vehicular access (two-way) is provided in new area via Bassett Street.
Wewatta Street services local traffic only.
Tracks consolidated and sunk with one passenger track open to above. Tracks rise back up to clear Cherry Creek.
Shaft of green space created behind Union Station. For this project, it is important only in the sense of an "open green edge."
Uses a mix of housing, retail, office and light industry. Retail with housing above lines the park.
60-90 foot range of building height is desired throughout the area, especially along the park edge.
15 th st viaduct
16th st viaduct
Errio:i | statidn
As I stated in the thesis statement, Denver Public Market seeks to begin to fill a void which exists in downtown Denver. That is, a vital place of meeting and exchange which serves as a necessary piece of the urban organism for immediate existing and future residents, as well as for residents from surrounding towns and neighborhoods.
The words public and market imply a combination of public and private, and as such, this project seems to become something of a city-wide community center/retail district. Thus, the project strives to meld these piecs together using the traditions inherent in each.
The community center component, if you will, involves several program components. I have placed these under the headinrg of "Public Spaces". Coming under this heading are the market hall, theater, and exterior public space.
While the public spaces seek to emphasize the coming together of people, the retail spaces I've outlined seek to underline the unique character of the public market type. The retail spaces range from the more permanent and larger retail shops,galleries, and restaurants, to smaller retail stalls, to an open farmers' type market, to small vendors on carts.
The housing component of the program is largely schematic in nature. While the main emphasis of this project is on the aforementioned market pieces, the housing is een as necessary to create the beginnings of a solid residential base which would be needed in the immediate area for the market's success as a vital place.
I. Public Spaces
Market Hall Theater Exterior Space
II. Individual Retail Spaces
A public market implies public ownership which I would intend this to be. The market would be operated and managed by the City of Denver much the way a community or civic center might be operated.
The city would lease retail spaces and daystalls to tenants. The items to be sold would be judged fit or unfit for the market. At the end of the program, there is some material on Rules and Regulations of a market.
The benefits of a municipally operated market are manyamong them are certainly the variety of resources which are available in city governments and institutionalized concern for the ongoing success of the market. Pike Place Market in Seattle is operated by the city of Seattle and is truly one of the great places to be in that city.
* Shop Owners
The individual shops of the Public Market would seek to express their individuality and uniqueness through being non-chain shops specializing in a particular range of goods. The emphasis in selecting prospective tenants would be on vendors that currently have a successful operation and are looking to expand their retail capacity; small owner-operated businesses that have thrived because of the owner's commitment to turning out a unique quality product.
Daystalls could be leased from the city for a day, a week, a season depending on the need. T Farmers selling produce would be mainstay at the market. In addition, people would be allowed to sell
crafts or other homemade products provided they were homemade.
There are two ways in which community groups could use the market. First, the theater is thought of as a community theater, so obviously, a variety of performing groups in the area could use that facility as well as the open public spaces in general for both formal and informal events.
Secondly, with the market's emphasis on ethnic diversity, some ethnic festivals might be held there, using the public spaces inside and out. The market hall and exterior spaces could both play host to large and small gatherings.
The wonderfully random and unpredictable qualities of the public market are a function of the variety of the individual sellers included in both the daystails and the individual shops, and the great variety of customers inherent in the market. This great mix becomes the central drama of the market, the architecture acts as a sort of backdrop for this variety of personal expressions. The building must be flexible to allow for this variation.
An important characteristic of the public marketplace is its contact with the outside elements. There is a certain ease with which one moves through, around, and between shops at the market. There are few doors, as if to represent the all-inclusiveness of the market. Thus, this Public Market should express this.
The market's organization is such that the building makes the transition from daytime to nighttime activity smoothly, from retail to entertainment so that some of the market may close for the sake of efficiency without harming the overall character of the market.
HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS "THE MARKET DAY"
Preparation to open daystalls begins at 6am.
Farmers Market opens at 7 am-
A couple produce/food related shops open at 7 am.
At least one restaurant open serving breakfast at 7 am.
All shops in Public Market open by 9 am.
Farmers Market in full swing as daystalls hit peak of
activity with mid morning shoppers and early lunch crowd.
Most restaurants open and begin to serve lunch crowd.
Heaviest weekday traffic at lunch hour as downtown employees eat lunch and shop.
Food-related daystalls begin to close up with greater frequency as lunch hour rush picks through the remaining products.
After mid-afternoon lull, shops' business picks up as downtown workers' begin to get off work and pick up something on their way home.
Most all produce related daystalls closed.
Restaurant/bars to good after work dining/drinking business.
Emphasis shifts to entertainment.
Retail activity winds down with gradual closing of many shops(most food related closed by 7 pm.).
Most non food shops still open.
Some daystalls still open selling craft related items.
Heaviest dining activity.
Some club/group meetings.
Entertainment in nightclub and theater.
Dining and drinking continue in restaurants and bars.
Some small entertainment in restaurant/bars.
Meetings wrap up.
A couple shops remain open.
Late-night vendors and street performers make last pitches and performances.
Public Market closes at 2 am, with closing of nightclub and a couple restaurant/bars still open.
Theater and remaining shops generally closed up by 12 am.
Only activity the sound of janitors wiping up a hectic day's mess in preparation for the arrival of farmers in a couple hours and the start of another market day.
The main market hall can serve not only to bring together the distinct program elements but can and should become a main focus of activity itself. A wide range of entertainment and retail activities could take place here. Large festivals, small concerts or shows, as well as street performers could be imagined in the hall. In addition, some vendors could be located in the hall. Retail stalls and shops would be adjacent to the hall.
* Publicness can be emphasized by providing space for gathering.
* Form of the space can express public place through the character of the enclosure.
* The market hall can achieve an appropriate indoor/ outdoor "meshing" of activities that is seen as vital to the market.
* Flexible space to accomodate varied activities.
* Some permanent seating such as benches is desirable.
* Bandstand/performance area
* Information booth
* Natural light a must.
* Strong and active relationship to the market square.
TOTAL SQUARE FEET-10,OOP
This will be a "community type" theater to further emphasize the communal nature of the building. It would be host to a great variety of activities, from concerts to plays, lectures, movies, indoor festivals as well as some touring performances.
Audience activity is great before and after a performance and between acts, due to the social nature of the occasion. Spaces for lounging, talking, smoking are all necessary
In addition, in a community theater, scenery, costumes, are mostly prepared within the theater itself. Spaces need to be provided for such activities.
* Create varied mix of activity at Public Market.
* Insure nightime activity at market.
* Create forum for various community groups to perform and thus increase range of people using market.
* Separate exterior entrance.
* Close proximity to restaurants for late-night.
* Ease of circulation between public program elements to accomodate community social activity before and after performance.
seating fOr 400.
should emphasize flexibility with diverse events occuring there.
important place of social interaction in this type of theater before,during,and after performance.
bar area for receptions,could double as rehearsal area.
space for dressing,make-up,as well as lounging after show.
amateur theater requires large space to build sets and to make costumes. Must be very flexible.
audio/visual equipment and control area.
space for director of theater and secretary.
general storage,material for sets and costumes,as well as the sets and costumes themselves.
The exterior space(s) could be host to a variety of activities. It could provide an excellent site for outdoor festivals held in conjunction with the Public Market. The space(s) would provide for medium/small sized gatherings around street performers, for example, as well as places of a more intimate nature for perhaps, midday contemplation(?). The space(s) could hold outdoor market activity, such as the farmers' market.
* Can create an outdoor place of gathering
* Can underline the public in Public Market.
* Can create a 'front porch' effect for the market.
As if it was a small shop, fragments of the market like crates of produce, might spill outside.
* Create a place of varied subspaces for varied types of activity.
* Outdoor seating and lighting
* Trees and landscaping if appropriate.
* Large open space for gatherings.
* Strong and active relationship with Public Market interior open space.
TOTAL SQUARE FEET-23,^00
Shopping and browsing for a variety of food and odd items ranging from necessities to the exotic.
This wide array of shops can add to the Market as a place to wander aimlessly.
The spaces listed in the possible scenario of shop uses on the next page attempts to relate the intents of this market.
* A gathering of unique, non-chain shops can help lead to the survival of such small businesses.
* More permanent retail activity can function as strong base for more irregular daystall activity.
* Would provide vital day-to-day regularity to Public Market which in contrast to the unpredictability of the temporal daystails has proven to be a key ingredient in the aesthetic success of markets.
* Can sew together disparate program pieces.
* Variation of exterior and interior focused spaces desirable.
* Lack of regularity in space and form might be appropriate in regard to varied functions housed.
* Food-related shops close to Market-wide loading area.
* Openness of shop fronts important.
The emphasis in selecting prospective tenants would be on vendors that currently have a successful operation and are looking to expand their retail capacity; small owner-operated businesses that have thrived because of the owner's committment to turning out a unique quality product. It is in this spirit that I believe a Public Market can be viable in 1986.
Below I have listed some possible types of retail shops. The uses will overlap some of those seen in the Market stalls. Here, the empahasis would again on the essential as well as the unique, and the types are not limited to food only.
1. General grocery
2. Liquor store
4. Ice Cream shop
5. Ethnic Market
6. Gourmet Foods
10. Imported Goods
11. Used Clothes
12. Book Store 13 Antiques
14. Gifts/Crafts 15- News Stand 16.
TOTAL SQUARE FEET-11, OOP
The leased, day stalls would complement the more permanent and regular nature of the permanent retail by varying the products offered in relation to the changing seasons.
The main emphasis of the market during the summer months for example would be on home-grown fruits and vegetables, and less so during the off seasons. At these times, some out of state produce could be added along with homemade products such as preserves. Crafts and homemade goods would be allowed as per the Rules and Regulations that follow this section.
* Create a place for the daily chaos of buying and selling so vital to the integrity of the place as a Public Market.
* Provide both a seasonal as well as daily variance to the physical make-up of the market.
* Public bathrooms should be nearby for patrons.
* Strong relationship with exterior, if not outside, a must to its vitality.
* Farmers could sell from trucks, while other stalls will not need this relationship.
The following is a possible types of stalls one could find in the retail stalls of the market hall.
* Meat Market
* Fish Market
* Specialty Grocery
* Fruits and Vegetables
* Flower Market
* Dairy Products
* Gourmet Foods
Retail Stalls-20 stalls @ 300 s.f. = 6,000 s.f. These are seen as something in between the larger retail shops and the smaller, more seasonal day-stalls. The retail stalls would be open and "stand-like" in nature. They would front open circulation areas as part of a larger market building.
The reatil stalls would sell products comparable to those mentioned in the retail shops program.
Daystalls-30 stalls @ 150 s.f. = 4,500 s.f.
The smaillest of the retail spaces, this would be the traditional farmers type market area. It is most desirable that the stalls be outside yet a certain degree of protection and cover would be necessary. It is possible that direct access to interior space would be desirable, or that in the cold months this area could be inside. Obvoiously, a high degree of flexiblity is necessary here.
The City of Denver would lease stalls to appropriate tenants. The rules and regulations of the market could be patterned after the Pike Place Markets Rules and Regulations I have included after this section. Included in those is information regarding rental fees and requirements for craftspeople. The intent is merely to show how the market might work and not bog me down with determining such things.
A seasonal buying guide that follows the Rules and Regulations can give one an idea of some of what might be seen at the market.
TOTAL SQUARE FEET-13,000
A variety of eating/drinking establishments could provide for a variety of experiences and perhaps a diverse group of people. The range that follows includes large restaurant/bars with small entertainment potential to small cafes and diners.
* Restaurant/Bar 2,900 s.f.
* Restaurant 2,900
* Res taurant/Bar 1,500
* Restaurant 1,500
* Bar 1,200
* Restaurant 1,200
* Cafe/Coffeehouse 900
* Cafe/Bar 900
* Varied types of eating/drinking establishments can lead to a varied market patronage.
* Spaces should be located to be integral to both daytime and nightime activity.
* Varied site chosen can lend itself to creating different environments and settings for these spaces as deemed appropriate.
* Late-night spaces should have separate entrance.
* Spaces can very from very open, light day oriented to darker, more out of the way night oriented spaces.
TOTAL SQUARE FEET-^4- @ 1,100- ^,^00
Different types of artists, perhaps a painter, a photographer, a woodworker, etc. would occupy these studios in such a way that the public could see and experience both finished work and possibly the process itself, the artist at work.
* Provide for a wide range of experiences at the market.
* Add to personal and individual uniqueness of the Public Market.
* Attempt towards achieving as a basis for the success of the place as real and essential, the vital integration of making, performing, buying, and selling.
* Will design spaces as open and flexible for artist to finish, like the retail shops.
* Natural light and view for workshop.
* Artificially controlled environment a desire for most galleries, but a certain openness to exterior might be appropriate at the market.
TOTAL SQUARE FEET-30 units @ 900 s.f.
= 27,000 s.f.
The inclusion of housing in the program is done on the premise that it is not officially part of the Denver Public Market as much as it merely shares the same site. The market's success as a functional necessity is based on it being a vital place for nearby residents. The housing component can then set the tone for this mixture of uses in the are. Ultimately, this relationship can reinforce the place as a unique and public district, thus validating the unique character of the market, and differentiating it from other retail developments through this integration. The housing can be seen here then as something of an "incubator" which can provide the beginnings for the needed residential base.
The housing units themselve s will be treated schematically. The main intent here is the Public Market. The housing provides the beginningd of this needed mixed context. It is imagined areas surrounding the Public Market would have a more balanced housing/ retail ratio. As this is considered to be something of the heart of this area, the main focus is on retail and gathering.
The units would be open volumes, wharehouse and loft type in character that would seem appropriate to the area. Residents would finish the units themselves. It is felt this type could attract a vital and unique group of individuals(such as artists and craftsman) to the area.
* Separation from market activity(horizontally or vertically)
* Natural light
* 1 parking space per unit and separate entrance potential.
As explained in my zoning summary, this project would be proposed as a P.U.D. As such, I am providing for 250 on-site parking spaces.
There are three types of users and corresponding allotments that are involved here.
(1) . Residents 30 spaces
(2) . Employees 70 spaces
(3) . Customers 150 spaces
Current Denver zoning allows for one half of the parking to be sized for compact cars. The average square feet per space is thus calculated to be roughly 260 square feet. Therefore, the total square footage is
250 spaces x 260 S.F. = 65,000 S.F.
Several assumptions have been made in regard to the par-king in striving at these figures.
(1) . The potential for more parking in the area
is great with the large amount of undeveloped land surrounding the site. Garages would be encouraged here in order that an urban density appropriate to the existing fabric of Lower Downtown might be maintained.
(2) . It is felt that a parking garage of any
greater size would b^ detrimental to the project from the standpoint of both the comparative scale to the rest of the project and the rather fragile nature of the Public Market from an aesthetic view.
Space S.F. Remarks
Load! ng/U nloading 2,000 space for simultaneous de-liviries for majority of market with exception of day-stalls.
Market Security 200 'headquarters'for building security and control.
Market Maintenance 200 maintenance supplies and office.
Employee Room 300 serves as break room and locker room for security and maintenance.
General Storage 1,000 storage of temporary things like outdoor tents or market display items(seasonal).
Market Director 150 your basic 'big guy' type office with walnut desk,fish tank, and corner location.
Reception 150 -
Conference 200 -
Assistants 200 -
Restrooms(2) 150 -
Public Restrooms 1,000 -
Meeting Room 1,000 club me<= tings,conferences,etc
GROUP OCCUPANCY CLASSIFICATIONS
* Group B, Division 1- An assembly building with an occupant load of less than 1,000
* Group B, Division 2- An assembly building without a stage and an occupant load of 300 or more
-open market area -multipurpose hall
* Group F, Division 1- Drinking and Dining establishments " ' load of less than 150.
* Group F, Division 2- Stores for wholesale or retail sales with an occupant load of less than 50.
-permanent retail shops
* Group G, Division 2- Parking garage.
* B1 to FI lhr.
* B1 to F2
* B1 to G3
* B2 to FI
* B2 to F2
* B2 to G3
* FI to F2
* FI to G3
* F2 to G3
* Construction Type-I
* Building Area- Unlimited
* Building Height- Unlimited
* Fire Resistive Requirements- See table that follows section, Table 17-C of the Denver Building Code.
" Openings not permitted in exterior walls located less than 5 feet from adjacent property line or street center line. All openings shall be protected by a fire assembly having a j/k hr. fire resistive rating where walls are located less than the set-back, distances from an adjacent property line, or center line of a street or alley. A sprinkler system may substitute for this as per SEC. 1707(c),exc.l.
* Structural Fire Resistance-
-Framework- steel,concrete,masonry 3hr.
-Stairs- reinf. concrete or steel 3hr.
-Floors- noncombustible fire-resist. 3hr.
* Space No. of exits
-Res taurant(typ) 2
-Retail shop(typ) 2
-Open Market area 2
* Width of exits- "Total width of exits
be at least the total occupant load divided by 50, and divided equally among separate exits, and including a percentage of the occupant loads of adjacent floors".
* Exit Doors- Each exit door shall be at least 36" wide and open in the direction of exit travel.
* Exit Corridors
-Shall have at least a width of 44"
-Shall have a height of at least 7'-0"
-Dead end corridors shall not exceed 20' in length -Doors opening onto dead end corridors shall be protected by a fire resistive rating of at least 45 minutes and be self-closing.
-Walls of public corridors shall be of at least one hour fire resistive construction and the ceilings shall be at least that required for a one hour floor or roof system.
* S tairs
-minimum width serving more than 50 people-44"
-minimum width serving less than 50 people-36"
-maximum riser height-7.5"
- -maximum tread length-10"
-vertical distance between landings shall not exceed lZ1^".
-Width of stairway but not exceeding 5' in the direction of the stairway in a straight run.
-height shall be not less than 30" or more than 34" above the nosing of the treads.
-Handrails shall be continuous the full length of stairs and at least one handrail shall extend 6" beyond top and bottom risers, with the ends returned or terminating in posts or safety terminals.
-minimum width shall be at least 44" -maximum slope allowed= 1:12
-handrails shall be provided on at least one side of every ramp at least 32" in height.
-handrails shall extend l'-O" beyond top and bottom of ramp.
-when ramp slope is greater than Is 15, ramps shall have landings at the top and bottom, one landing per 5' of rise.
-minimum dimension in direction of ramp= 5'
* Exit Enclosures All stairway, ramps, and escalatprs shall be enclosed of at least a 2hr. fire resistive construction of Type I and II buildings unless it is sprinkled.
* .See table 64-A that follows this section.
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR THEATER
-maximum travel distance to exit 150'(200' when sprinkled)
-main exit must accomodate at least l/2 occupant load.
-exits on each side of auditorium must be provided to accomodate l/3 of the occupant load.
-balconies with an occupant load of more than 10 requires 2 exits.
-aisles must be at least 36" wide when serving one side.
-aisles must be at least 44" wide when serving two sides.
-the spacing of the aisles will be such that no more than 6 intervening seats will be between any seat and the nearest aisle.
-continental seating can allow for up to 29 where exits to doors are provided in the proportion of one pair of exit doors for each five rows of seats.
-with standard seating, the spacing of rows of seats shall provide a space of at least 12" from the back of one seat to the front of the most forward projection of the seat assembly immediately behind it.
-spacing of rows of seats in continental seating shall provide a clear width measured horizontally as follows:
18" for rows of 18 seats or less
20" for rows of 35 seats or less
21" for rows of 45 seats or less
22" for rows of 46 seats or more
The final design solution that follows shows both the evolution of the ideas I began with as well as a considerable evolution of the program. Most notable, the housing component, initially a schematic appendage, greatly increased in size and importance. This change altered the focus and drastically changed the scope of the project. In the end, this change proved near fatal.
Nonetheless, a sincere explanation was made into the space and form of public places. As the project evolved, there became two distinct "halves" described and defined by the three main pieces of the program as it was bailed down.
The three pieces, the two large public spaces, the market hall and the theater, along with the third less defined aggregation of the retail and housing. The market hall was located towards Wynkoop Street to maximize its public relationship to Union Station and the more "hard-edged" side of the site; gritty and brash. The retail/housing component was located along the proposed park, with that amenity seen as ideal for housing.
Thus the market hall reflects the essentially non-residential activity to the south, while the retail/housing reflects the potential mix of uses to the undeveloped north. The theater then became something of the transitional object between these two pieces, striking a formal entry relationship with its counterpart public space, the market hall, but turned at an angle. This skewing enabled the retail.housing court to acheive a high degree of enclosure while opening its entries up in funnel-like fashion. The spaces that result reflect the nature of the program specific to them. The public building's more precise and ordered space and form is counteracted by the less defined private realm, the housing and retail. The drama of the market hall as it suspends and propels us from bay to bay becomes the unfolding drama of the retail/housing spaces as it responds to the precarious position of the theater. We move through, around and under to reach our goal.
The form and articulation of the projects rises from two traditions. One, that of public versus private articulation as I mentioned in regard to the public spaces; articulate order of the public building broken down in the private sector, but done so within the same language of parts.
Secondly, the traditions of Lower Downtown and respect to this "genius-loci." The use of brick, expression of structure, and respect but adaptation of the "rules" governing openings were major points. In fact, the infill within and between the structures comes too from thoughts of building the structure of the viaduct.
Finally, in relation to the city, the building holds the edges of its grid. It presents to the city a more ordered and precise facade on the outside, a less precise and varied face within, as if along an alley. As a public place its gesture outward is found in the tower, providing vertical access between viaduct and ground as well as to the lookout above. Thus one is drawn to the tower, the sign and ultimately can reach it and look back on the city.
15 th st viaduct
i 1 a
17 til st
Lower J _____|i
cn cO X3
lower level parking
,.i^ a retail
1CJ 1C J 31 fc c /*
second level 1:20
iludto "1 - i I 1 -n
T 1 - :r i n_
typical housing level
?ark elevation 1:20
vynkoop st. elevation 1:20
_ ty. % %' % % v %r
Public markets: functional anachronisms or functional necessities?
The author is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Research Associate at the Center for International Studies, University of Missouri at St. Louis, USA. This study was aided by the National Science Foundation and the Center tor International Studies.
Over the years, the market has been stoutly defended by those who see in it old-fashioned virtues of individuality and direct connection with Mother Earth, has been attacked by those who see in it an unwarranted subsidy of inefficiency in small-scale distribution, is fondly remembered by those who think it no longer exists, and is faithfully patronized by those who prefer the quality of freshness over quantity, or even over price. (Jane Pyle 1971:197)
Paradoxically there has been a recent resurgence of ** terest in public markets. Many millions of dollars hr# been spent renovating old markets such as Pike Market in Seattle (Pike Place Project 1974) and Qu'nCT Market in Boston (Whitehill 1977). The renovations, he** ever, stress boutiques, exclusive shops and restaurant more than produce. This trend has led one observer a remark: "Somewhere along the line it appears that* number of cities are missing the point. The public market s integrity is dependent upon the simple fact that 4* essentially an egalitarian setting where real peopled real and essential things." (Burke 1978:12)
Is it true that public markets* in the US are functional anachronisms" as Pyle (1971) suggested? Or do existing markets make a real economic contribution to society? Based on evidence from an ongoing study of Soulard Farmers Market in St. Louis, Missouri, I argue the latter. Public markets have obviously declined in number and importance in the past 40 years. They have been replaced by huge chains of supermarkets, vertically integrated with agricultural and transportation interests. In many ways these giant corporations have decreased costs and provided high levels of services to consumers. However, this progress has created its own waste, inefficiency, and decline in economic services. Huge scale imposes a need for standardization that creates its own waste. Viable public markets can fit in with this system of huge supermarket chains to ameliorate some of the inefficiencies, decrease the waste and increase the level of services. These claims run counter to the conventional wisdom that there is no economic place for public markets in a modern system of produce distribution.
Public markets in the US
Public markets have certainly lost the place they once held in the US as the main arena where firms competed to supply fresh food directly to consumers.
Expert opinion supports the view that surviving public markets in the US have at best a vestigial economic function in modern produce distribution:
During the last three decades most types of produce markets have declined in number, and in absolute, as well as relative importance because of the growth of chain store organizations as marketing agencies for fresh vegetables, and the relative efficiency with which the chains can perform the functions formerly provided by produce markets. The chains benefit from large volume purchases, and their precise knowledge about and control over their retail outlets. Chain organizations have increasingly bought directly from producing areas, bypassing consumer-oriented markets, and often producer-oriented markets as well. (S R. Jumper 1974:389).
Soulard Farmers Market
Soulard Farmers Market has been in existence for oy*r 150 years and continues to provide a wide assortment d basic notluxury foodstuffs to thousands of shoppe** each week. Instead of being peripheral to the dornih*1^ structure of large scale produce distribution in the sf<#-this public market seems to occupy an integral, a.'t** minor functional position. The market occupies a&ou* two city blocks in a neighborhood of mixed heavy dustry and decaying housing in the southeastern parts*
uuauy C1MU ucvaymy Iiuuamy ,1, _______
St. Louis city. It is possible that the market existed ** early as 1780 on land which belonged to Antoine a*1* Julia Soulard. Their property, which stood midway
tween the farming village of Carondalet and the gro^f urban center of St. Louis, included extensive fruit chards which could have drawn buyers to form 7* nucleus of a market. Its location would have made 4* convenient bulking market where wholesale buyers St. Louis amassed loads to resell in town. By 18*5
market certainly existed. In that year Julia Cerre
willed the land to the city, stipulating that the propel be used as a market forever.
The present market is operated by St. Louis as the>T*f surviving municipal market in the city. The majority of-*# open-air stalls are rented annually by 84 firms (in summ# 1978) specializing primarily in fresh produce. In add't'On^ enclosed shops in a central brick building sell me* bakery goods, spices and prepared foods. A few vendor* rent stalls on a daily basis on Saturdays, the buff market day, to sell trinkets, clothing and other nort-fo^ items. Sellers who do not deal in food are restricted** daily rentals to insure that the market remains prinW^ devoted to produce.
Twenty-nine of the 90 regular firms on the m*'** are farmers, who stell produce they or their neighbor* have produced; 35 are merchants, who sell pro&4# bought from the local wholesale produce market; *^* combine farming with wholesale produce merchandise
Eristics 273. ho*
Sixteen sell other sorts of foodstuffs such as spices, bakery and short-order foods and meat. About half of the 304 people working on the market work for produce merchants, 20 percent work for farmers, and the rest for the other regular firms.
Most regular firms are open for business from Friday morning to Saturday evening, although there are many more customers in the market on Saturdays. The winter is a slow season for produce firms, and many sellers, especially the farmers, close up after the first hard freeze until the next spring. The market structure, built by the city in 1928, provides no storage for produce. Sellers back their trucks up to the rear of the stalls to unload, using the vehicles as storage. The fronts of the stalls face the inner aisles and consist of wide display tables. Some sellers hawk their produce in loud voices, others are content with the hand-lettered price signs that almost all stalls display. During busy selling hours the aisles are crowded with shoppers who generally enjoy the challenge of comparison shopping and the bustle of a real market place.
Most of the regular firms are family operations. Only 12 of 180 people working on the market in regular produce firms of whom we have formal interview data were totally unrelated to anyone else on the market. Selling at Soulard Market is a tradition for many families, some having held stalls for three and four generations. Because of the stability of these family firms they attract the repeat business of loyal customers (Eckstein 1977).
Soulard market is a public market of merchant as well as farmer firms, rather than purely a farmer's market. This is common (cf. DeWeese 1975:12. Pyle 1971:185-188). Society obviously benefits from having farmers markets in the strict sense of places where locally-grown produce is sold. Consumers obtain maximally fresh produce and \ enjoy the variety of non-standardized items (e.g., McPhee 1978). It is less obvious that the merchants' role in public marketing is positive and functional with respect to supermarket chain marketing.
Soulard Market is predominantly a retail market. Some sellers have a few steady wholesale customers who own small restaurants or produce stores, but these buyers are limited to a few boxes at best. The wholesale terminal market in St. Louis is called "Produce Row" and is a private corporation whose shares are held by two types of firms: brokers, who deal in "paper, meaning they buy, sell and consign produce without physically handling it; and jobbers, who actually move boxes of produce from trucks into refrigerated storage and from there onto the rucks of buyers. The retail merchants of Soulard Market :uy produce from the 34 jobbing firms at Produce Row.
Of course, most of the produce sold in the St. Louis metropolitan region (the total was about 17,583 rail carlot quivalents" in 1977) does not pass through the whole-ale market at all. Most produce is bought often in the fields directly from the producing area by the Cham gamzafcn *hich c*rs or contrcis me f.nat retail outlet
well as the trucks, warehouses, and processing equipment in between. In principle this vertical integration .sures more efficient distribution, and keeps down ex-
pensive labor costs at the point of retail sale. Ideally the chains would buy all of their produce in the field, but in fact things rarely work out that way. Small chains and independent supermarkets buy proportionally more through Produce Row.
When a shipment of produce arrives it is inspected before it is unloaded. If the produce is below grade it can be rejected by the consignee, who often arranges for a USD A official inspection to verify the condition of the produce. Produce does not have to be rotten to be rejected. Trimming is kept to a minimum because of the high cost of labor in the retail stores (for example, in St. Louis a major chain paid produce clerks with two years of experience $7.65 an hour in 1978). The head of the produce division of a local chain remarked, "a man who earns cents per minute cannot really trim lettuce at an economical rate, if the produce needs more than minor trimming. Thus it may not pay the store to trim a case of 24 heads of lettuce in which 4 heads are totally rotten while the rest need minor to medium trimming. When a shipment of such produce is rejected, the shipper will normally try to sell it for whatever he can get at Produce Row. At that point the shippers costs are spent, the produce is not getting any better, and any money realized on the shipment is better than nothing.
It is here that the economic benefit of markets such as Soulard enters. The Soulard merchant firms, using family labor, can afford to trim and rework produce where the chain stores cannot. Once trimmed the produce can be displayed in separate piles, each consisting of a different size or grade. Thus it is common at Soulard Market to see two or three prices for the same produce at one firm. This does not mean that market firms are selling inferior produce. Rather they are precisely matching price and value in a way that supermarkets cannot afford to do. For example, it makes no economic (or other) sense for a person who lives alone and rarely eats salad to buy a large head of lettuce. In a supermarket that is usually the only choice. A public produce market can offer a range of choices, within the restricted domain of fresh produce. Of course, supermarkets compensate for their relatively restricted choices of fresh produce by offering many alternatives in other shopping needs.
If no strikes, refrigeration failures, dispatchers errors or driver's mistakes ever occurred, then the supermarkets could offer fresh produce with high efficiency. Even in this ideal circumstance consumers would sacrifice variety and quality. Supermarket methods stress large volume and uniform products. Produce is inherently variable, and quality is often sacrificed for uniformity (e g. White-hill, 1977). On the other hand the owner-operated firms in public markets represent a pool of relatively skilled (compared with produce clerks) inexpensive labor. These small firms can handle variable and exotic produce. Thus the variety at a public market can always be greater than at a supermarket.
When the system breaks down and a load of Droduce ts rejected by the supermarket f^en t s "k okec o** c-:c :*--e street^ cr so'c tnrough jocbmg firms. The more outlets such as public markets exist for variable produce, the less probability that food will be junked because it is not economic to trim it. Thus the public market serves as a "shock absorber" for the modern produce distribution
mes 273. r.ov /Dec 1978
system, cushioning the effect of breakdowns in the system by allowing variable grade produce to be sold at reduced prices to consumers instead of being thrown away.
Of course, most of the produce sold at public markets such as Soulard is first quality. Proof of this is the fact that consumers invariably mention "quality" as the reason they shop at the market, usually after giving "price (e.g., Jacobs 1973, DeWeese 1975:16). The proportion of total sales that consist of "kicked back" produce is small, certainly less than 10 percent. But small numbers can be significant. In a highly competitive market, theory tells us that profits will be at a minimum. Losses will have major potential if dealers are operating near their thresholds. Produce Row is a microcosmic model of a competitive market (as is Soulard on the retail level). Wholesale buyers "shop the street, strolling around all the jobbing firms to inspect quality and determine price and availability (as retail shoppers do at Soulard). Thus Produce Row firms actively compete against each other and presumably work on relatively thin profit margins. This is probably the hidden meaning behind the remarks Soulard merchants made about their importance to the wholesalers: "Those guys (the jobbers) would be in big trouble if it wasn't for us."
This seemed like pure bravado, considering the relative volumes handled in each place. But the jobbers admitted: "Yeah, they (the Soulard merchants) help us when we're in trouble. "You know, they buy a lot of things that you need to get rid of. And more to the point: "We need them. This is perishable products (field notes 7/5/78).
I submit that the wholesalers' remarks are true for public markets in general: they help the system out when it is in trouble, thereby adding to the significant array of services public markets offer. The US federal government has recently passed into law a bill to encourage farmers markets (PL 94-463). This research suggests that the government would do well not to limit its conception of public marketing to farmers markets. The petty merchants in public markets, who substitute low-paid family labor for capital in the classic style of poor economic actors, provide significant economic benefits to consumers as well as to produce producers and wholesalers. We would all be poorer if such merchants went totally out of business.
"The term "public market" will be used in this paper to refer to public retail markets, meaning places where a variety of goods, invariably including produce, is sold on a periodic schedule by numerous small private firms. Wholesaling, bulking or breaking bulk shipments may also be important in the same place, but the focus in this paper is on retailing. This usage lumps together municipal (owned by municipalities), farmers' (patronized by sellers who offer home-grown produce), and curb (where firms sell directly from their trucks) markets.
"A rail carlot equivalent consists, for example, of 1.000 boxes of 48 one pound cellophane-wrapped bags of carrots, or 32,000 pounds of bananas. For comparison to St. Louis' volume. Chicago received 42,000 and Kansas City recived 11,000 unloads in 1977 (source: USDA 1978).
BURKE, Padraic (1978), "Reviving the urban market, Nations Cities (February) pp 9-12.
DEWEESE, Pamela (1975), "The Detroit eastern farmers market: its structure and functions," Ethnic Studies Division, Center for Urban Studies, Wayne State University.
ECKSTEIN, Lorraine (1977), "Soulard summer I: an anthropological report on the firms at Soulard Farmers Market," Center for International Studies, University of Missouri-St. Lous.
JACOBS, Anton (1973), Shopping for fresh produce in St Louis, Mo," Center for International Studies, University of Missouri-St. Louis.
JUMPER, S.R. (1974), "Wholesale marketing of fresh vegetables, Assn. American Geographers, Annals, vol 64, pp 387-96.
MCPHEE, John (1978), "The Greenmarket," The New Yorker (July 3) p 36.
PIKE PLACE PROJECT (1974), "Farmer-vendor study of Pike Place Market," Department of Community Development, Seattle, Washigton.
PYLE, Jane (1971), "Farmers' markets in the United States: functional anachronisms, The Geographical Review, vol 61 (2), pp 167-97.
USDA (1978), "Fresh fruit and vegetable unloads in midwestern cities, calendar year 1977,'.' Washington. D C.: United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, Fruit and Vegetable Division, Market News Branch.
WHITEHILL, Walter M. (1977), "Recycling Quincy Market. Boston," Ekistics, vol 256, pp 155-57.
Ekistics 173. f,ov./Dcc. rf*
Pike Place Market
Preservation & Development Authority
85 Pike Street Room 500 Seattle, Washington 98101 phone 206-625-4764
I. RULES COMMON TO ALL DAYSTALL USERS
A. Dayatall Size
Permanently constructed daystalls shall be of uniform frontage. Each daystall shall have frontage on the arcade of at least four feet. A daystall may exceed this size by as much as one and one half feet if the Market Master determines that this extra space is required because of the placement of columns or other architectural barriers.
The Market Master sha-ll clearly mark the dividing lines between dayatalls.
If the Market Master determines that it is in the best interest of the vendors and the public, he or she may create additional temporary daystall space on property owned or managed by the PDA. Such temporary space will provide approximately the same amount of selling space to the vendor, but the vendor may be required to provide his or her own structure from which to display and sell permitted merchandise.
B. Rental Fees for Daystalls
Fees for the rental of daystalls shall be as follows.
During the slow seasons (January 1 May 31 and Labor Day Thanksgiving Day):
$4 on weekdays $7 on weekends
During the busy seasons (Memorial Day Labor Day and Thanksgiving Day December 31:
$6 on weekdays $9 on weekends
I cent for a second table, year round.
The above rates shall be raised by One Dollar ($1.00), commencing on the day after the Desimone Bridge enclosure is completed. These higher rates will stay in effect for one year to support the capital expenditure for the bridge enclosure. Daystall rates will be reevaluated in January of 1986.
During a person's first year at the Market, slow season rates apply year round.
Payment of rental fees for daystalls is required by 11:30 a.ra. every day unless alternate arrangements have been made with the Market Master.
Rental fees are not refundable except to renters of exposed tables where, in the opinion of the Market Master, a change in weather before
II a.m. makes those tables unuseable.