Maybe This Could Work in Solo?…

By Michael Haggerty

Last month, we presented Solo Kota Kita at a day-long conference sponsored by Architecture for Humanity in New York City.

Anybody could share their project during a so-called Design Open Mic. Each project had a specific group in mind and strategy for meeting their needs for a few of the projects, I thought, That idea could make a lot of sense Solo.”

One project is called a micro-library. It was designed by an architect named Heba ElGawish for children who live in a peri-urban settlement in Italy who had to move after an earthquake in 2009. The idea is a compact, mobile library that provides shelves for books and seating for eight children. Made from recycled plywood, studs, and palettes, the library’s dimensions made it possible to easily fold-up and store indoors.

After school lets out in the late-morning in Solo, there are always so many students in the city. They take the afternoon to spend time with friends in the streets which really are the most important public spaces in Solo before heading home to study. Maybe micro-libraries in Solo could add a new dimension to this daily activity?

Another project that could inform life in Solo are new food vendor stalls designed as part of a competition sponsored by the New York City chapter of Architecture for Humanity.

For many years, groups of immigrants from Central America set up a market of food tents next to a popular football pitch on Saturdays. Recently, the city’s Department of Health required the vendors to buy expensive food trucks in order to meet sanitation regulations. But once the vendors moved into the trucks, the market lost much of the bustle and color that made it appealing. So Architecture for Humanity asked designers to come up with ideas for how the vendors could meet the regulations, but be near the football pitch and their customers.

As a result of the competition, some of the ideas may be built by the Parks Department. One idea is for a new food stall made from a shipping container. Another provides a shaded area closer to the trucks and vendors. These projects use affordable, but bright and flexible materials to give the market an interesting identity.

Solo already has a new formal night market, but there are many other vendors everywhere in the city. Maybe these ideas could inspire new ways to make the places they gather into places where it’s easy for customers to sit down and enjoy the food?

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