NYC –> Shanghai, 22 days: Here Comes the Sun

August 19, 2013. 22 days.

“Fresh-squeezed sun juice” in Dumbo at Pearl Street Plaza!

2013-08-18 11.49.16 Yesterday I ventured across the bridge to Brooklyn to visit a potential wedding venue (apparently getting ready for a six month Fulbright to Shanghai and building a startup aren’t enough to keep me busy!). Besides the fact that I am a big fan of adaptive reuse and that this particular reclaimed warehouse made for a stunning event space, I was equally impressed if not more so by the small urban plaza adjacent to it (and not just because I was envisioning it as a cocktail/ceremony space!). Turns out Pearl Street Plaza was also at one point an underutilized space. It was transformed into a simple yet pleasant and functional hardscape plaza with moveable chairs, small tables, and canopies. With three buildings surrounding the triangular-shaped public space, there is a wonderful sense of “enclosure” – or as I tend to explain it to my students, the buildings “hug” the space just enough for one to feel comfortable (it’s not too suffocating or “aloof”). These features alone make this space very successful – but they didn’t stop there. This solar “juicing” station is not just immensely useful in this constantly plugged-in era, it’s also a great display of energy efficiency and a wonderful opportunity to educate users about the power (sorry, pun sort of intended) of solar fuel. For most of you, this space might be unassumingly simple. But many places still don’t get these elements right…it’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about building State of Place. In the meantime, stay tuned for tomorrow! It will be three weeks into the mini-blog – marking the half-way point to Shanghai – and I’ll be talking about what exactly I’ll be doing there!

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