Flipping the strip
Flipping the Strip received 3rd prize for the Flip a Strip Competition held by SMOCA (Scottsdale Museum of Modern Art).
The strip, in its nature, is a place without identity that creates monotony by the mere fact that it only houses one type of program – commercial space. On the ﬂip side, the strip is a convenience for the everyday shopper and obtains strong visibility for local businesses. Unfortunately, the traditional sidewalk has been given over to seas of parking and public space is nonexistent in typical suburban developments.
The city of Tempe is ‘fully built-out’ and ‘the lack of open, developable land has sensitized the city government about the uses of partially-occupied strip malls and other underutilized parcels.’
The proposal ‘FLIPPING THE STRIP’ ﬂ ips the typical suburban strip mall inside out - taking full advantage of residual space between existing buildings and more importantly the perimeter of underutilized sites to create newly deﬁ ned program for potentially any site along a typical strip.
FLIPPING THE STRIP harnesses the convenience of strip space but ﬂips it to the perimeter to redeﬁne public space in the centers of typical strip malls. Over time the commercial program of the strip is ﬂipped to the perimeter of the property, freeing space in the center for community space that serves as an attractor for the commercial program as well as a destination or public space for locals to congregate.
The project aims for a strategy that will ﬂ ip the strip into a place that has its own character and create a destination for more than just shopping but a place that is an integral part of the community – a series of public centers or what we coin as the ‘OASIS PARK[SCAPE]’.
On the exterior the strip develops a strong uniﬁ ed character similar to a city block that reveals a lush, green core when one drives by. This does not only change the character of one particular strip but potentially the entire street. When other properties are transformed similarly, it creates a new typology of the strip as urban phenomena.
Not unlike Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace the project would bring back the notion of the suburban landscape as a series of parks and public spaces. But instead of the object in the ﬁeld, the PARK[SCAPE] inverts itself and is surrounded by commercial program, each of which fronts the street with its own characteristic wrapper and inner landscape.
In more detail the strategy of ‘FLIPPING THE STRIP’ is based on ﬁve (5) components that can be implemented over time:
1. The RESIDUAL WRAPPER uniﬁ es existing buildings and creates a new center and new face for the development
2. The OASIS PARK[SCAPE] - public park space in the center of each development
3. The PARKING is ﬂ ipped to the perimeter of the site to free up the core for the PARK[SCAPE].
4. REDEFINED PROGRAM within residual wrapper creates a 24 hour environment.
a. ‘9 to 5 SPACE’ - additional commercial space + parking on roof
b. ‘24/7 SPACE’ - entertainment, recreation, or housing
c. ‘TUCK AWAY SPACE’ – houses all the stuff we don’t want to see or smell – trash, recycle bins or additional lockable storage.
5. The FLIPPING TIME BASED STRATEGY proposes that as buildings have reached their life capacity and need to be torn down, the wrapper expands and envelopes viable commercial space once housed in the existing buildings.
Beat Steuri Dipl .Arch. ETHZ, SIA