UWM School of Architecture and Urban Planning students have sited Capitol Drive, west of Oakland as the village center.
Their presentation is probably the first step of the long process of developing a plaza where people of the community can gather at their central village square.
A central place is more than shops on two sides of a busy trafficked street. It is a place where people are free to move around without a concern for cars.
This space wherever it functions as a central place (often as a pedestrian market place) is generally referred to England as the square, in Spanish speaking countries as well as in the U.S. as the plaza, in Italy as the piazza and in France as l’place.
The first design issue is how to make it into a true village square, a plaza, a piazza?
In creating a piazza from the beginning, how does it gain instant centrality to generate the energy required for a healthy development?
In Shorewood, the topography makes this a space good candidate for a slightly raised plaza level over a somewhat sunken traffic stream, an excellent urban architectural exercise.
To be seen as a central place from the start it must be given a significant visual element that will provide it its permanent identity and attraction, a significant sculpture or fountain, perhaps a combination.
A sculpture, appropriately designed can be placed significantly at a height coinciding with the eventual elevation of the raised level of the piazza, becoming the central point of attraction from the start, perhaps later jutting through the plaza’s floor.
So here are the ideas, the site, the place and the basic thoughts, the seeds for the growth of a piazza, Shorewood’s Village square. What is needed now is a strong artist with the vision to see this through.