Flat Lot Design Competition, Knot Lot

Flint, MI | 2013

Knot Lot responds to a challenge to transform an empty parking lot in Flint, Michigan, into a seasonal community gathering place, in the face of financial and logistical constraints.

Designers were asked to convert an active surface parking lot into a community event space. Entrants were restricted to a very tight budget, and the proposed structures had to be easily erected and taken down so the lot could remain functional during business hours. During these hours, the structures could only occupy eight parking spaces.

Knot Lot’s design honors Flint’s automotive history, parking four Buick Century Sedans and two flatbed Chevrolet trucks in eight spaces under two existing lampposts. The trucks provide both storage and a stage. A knotted rope canopy made with simple climbing knots hangs between the lampposts and attaches to the Buicks’ trailer hitches. In a dramatic opening event, the cars drive to the edge of the lot, pulling the guide ropes taut as the canopy unfurls behind them. The knotted rope creates patterned shade over the space. Five hundred exercise balls hung from the canopy provide mobile seating. When not in use the balls can be stored in the trucks or hung from the canopy, creating a field of spotted shade.

Knot Lot was one of five finalists from among 221 entries in the competition, which was sponsored by the Flint (Michigan) Public Art Project and the Flint chapter of the AIA.

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AIA Flint design competition website


Shepley Bulfinch Team

Tad Jusczyk
Susannah Cramer-Greenbaum
Ming Yan
Aris Garrison

©2017 Shepley Bulfinch