Passageways: Activating the Urban Alley through Architecture presented by AIA Tennessee and the River City Company is a community outreach project of the 2016 AIA Tennessee State Convention held August 24-26 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Passageways was created and curated by Cogent Studio team members Jared Hueter and Jason Ennis. It is a public architecture exhibit focusing on the urban fabric that exists in the space between our city’s buildings. These forgotten and often times overlooked voids exist throughout our city. The intent of the exhibit is to exemplify the potential of these spaces and the benefits they have in creating a healthy urban environment throughout Chattanooga.
In order to realize the full potential of these auxiliary spaces, we must change the way we fundamentally think about them. Within the context of the American urban environment, alleyways are often disregarded as solely service corridors, lined with dumpsters, mechanical units and fire-escapes, with just enough room for a vehicle to pass between buildings. Historically though, alleys were thought of much differently than the contemporary model. The origin of the word alley is late Middle English, stemming from the Old French word alee meaning “walking or passage” or aller meaning “go”. In large cities predating the automobile, these “passages” (or Passageways) were intended to create a path for the ambulatory human being. Often times the scale and design of these spaces was indicative of this and reflected in the rich activity that occurred daily within these spaces. Today, rarely do we find an alley that focuses on human scale or of walking through from one place to the next. Even rarer is it that these pathways are a place for human activity.
The purpose of Passageways is to re-imagine Chattanooga’s alleyways; to breathe life into these auxiliary spaces, to create a place, a destination in itself, and to demonstrate the value, the importance, and the potential of these between spaces and the significance they have to our built urban fabric.
Passageways in the News