Good placemaking exists in the bones of our urban structures, and it exists in the small adaptations we make. Two quick cases in point from central Victoria: the design features of the Atrium and the humanizing effect of simple chairs
The Atrium was built by Jawl Properties and designed by D’Ambrosio Architecture + Urbanism. On previous urban discovery walks, we have talked with architect Franc D’Ambrosio and walked through the building to note the many small ways that it was designed to be a people-friendly place, a welcoming place.
Here, though, is a recent snapshot of the exterior.
Note how the varied heights of the interior cafe, its patio, the main street walkway, and the surrounding borders all allow varieties of activities. People can sit at the edge of the sidewalk and wait, or check for messages. There is a small buffer space between them and the nearest traffic lane. And glass (so important, this) two way glass encourages connections between people inside and those outside.
The same afternoon, we passed a small apartment a few blocks away from the Atrium, on Richardson St. Here too is placemaking at work.
The simple statement of these colourful chairs is that this is a community place. Stop, sit a while. We love that there’s a small chair for small people. The effect is inviting. It states that someone cares. No big heavy benches bolted to the ground, but light chairs that can be moved with the low winter sun.
Placemaking can be in the initial design decisions we make or in the minor adjustments we make to ‘what is given.’