PARQUITO 2.0: URBAN PARKLET (Albuquerque Style)
The Downtown Central Corridor of Albuquerque, New Mexico has great potential as a public space. The goal of this project is to invigorate the Downtown Corridor through the development of vibrant and engaging public spaces that facilitate social interaction, foster community networks, and enrich the sense of place and identity. By creating meaningful places that incorporate art, nature, and culture, value can be generated that uplifts the entire community. This project seeks to energize the corridor through an innovative space known as a Parklet (locally known affectionately as a Parquito), that is sure to attract attention and interest. Parklets are basically tiny parks or green spaces that were originally a response to taking back land as public space by turning ordinary parking spaces into cool spaces for people. Their growing popularity can be seen in cities all over the country as they are becoming extensions of restaurants and coffee shops spilling out onto the sidewalks and parallel parking areas.
The idea of another parklet (the first parklet was hit by a vehicle and destroyed) was was met with great resistance from the local transportation engineering department as they feared for the safety of patrons in these spaces. After much negotiation, they permitted this design with the conditions that the new parklet would be heavily constructed or "bomb-proof", meaning it had to be solid enough to deflect a vehicle hitting it, and it had to be portable so that it could be moved if needed. This led to the original idea of utilizing a roll-off dumpster and modifying it into a parklet. Two concepts were developed using this platform that integrated seating and tables with plants within the space. Later, it was decided that security was a growing concern for the client (a local coffee shop) and they wanted to create something that could be locked at night. To accommodate this, a third concept was developed using a 20' shipping container. This platform provided the ability to create an enclosed space resolving many of the security needs as well as providing opportunities for other interesting features. And so, the design for Albuquerque's second parklet, Parquito 2.0 was born.