Kyle Rogler and Jared Nook
The West Bottoms is characterized by many incredible and accidental spaces that create dramatic views and scenes often used as photography sets. This study intended to identify and analyze these spaces in order to understand the urban conditions and spatial relationships that create them. Breaking down this intangible experience into a tangible spatial study, an objective analysis of an ethereal experience.
Space cannot be understood in one view or one diagram. Photographs were used initially, in order to capture a series of views that spoke of the essence of the spaces. These photos were then used to establish spatial maps, drawing out the perspective to define the extents of the space and defining buildings bounded within the selected space. The study became concentrated on the space as void, and a three-dimensional representation of this volume. Digital spatial studies and physical spatial models extruded the boundaries of the space that had been previously determined, but also included detailed articulation of building mass and height that were critical in defining these spaces.
This study created a process for identifying these spaces in other places in the West Bottoms. They are often found as anomalies within the grid. Either formed by overlapping and opposed grids, or by foreign, non-rectilinear paths (i.e. railroad lines) slicing through and disrupting the grid. These overlaps created the impetus for unusual urban constructs and spatial qualities. Many of these ad hoc spaces in the West Bottoms have also been created by deletion or deterioration of the original building stock—which creates new oblique views and extensions beyond "traditional" gridded space.
Overall this study created a process for identifying spaces with this desirable quality or areas that have the potential for it. But it also points to ways to define new rules for infill, so that the fabric with these characteristics can be preserved or enhanced, defining ways to treat these spaces in the vision for the West Bottoms.