Florida/Caribbean Architect - Summer 2014 - (Page 30)
SMOKEY HOLLOW COMMEMORATION AT CASCADES PARK,
ARCHITECTS: LEWIS + WHITLOCK, tallahassee, florida
Three "Spirit Houses" form a line of shotgun
buildings, anchored by brick hearths. Photos by
Adam Cohen Photography.
"This project presented a rare opportunity
for our firm to give something back to
the community. The nature of a civic
project like this demanded the cooperation
and commitment of a diverse group of
people. It was rewarding and refreshing
to see a cross section of local residents,
community leaders and government agencies
participating in the design process."
Rodney Lewis, AIA
the time the last house was demolished.
When the City of Tallahassee - Leon
County decided to build the Cascades
Park as part of its Blueprint 2000
program, the decision was made to
commemorate Smokey Hollow. The
challenge lay in how to commemorate
a neighborhood that once existed
within the footprint of the new park.
Architects: Lewis + Whitlock were
provided with enormous amounts of
historical information by former residents,
civic leaders and municipal planners.
From this data an idea was born and the
direction was set in motion. The architects
set out to tell the Smokey Hollow story
in a way that would be educational and
memorable for the entire community.
Smokey Hollow originally consisted
of rows of shotgun houses facing a
communal dirt path with a ditch that
meandered through the area. The
commemorative design focuses on
the mystery of what was once there:
the foundation piers, perhaps flooring
and in most cases, the hearth that
occupied the center of each house.
The fireplace and chimney remained,
staking their claim, a piece of history
that could be seen and touched. It is
these hearths - the ghosts of the Smokey
Hollow houses - that commemorate
and ground this new public space.
The primary elements of the
commemorative neighborhood are three
sculptural, steel-framed "Spirit Houses,"
a bubbling water feature and plaza, a
grove of trees, community planting
boxes and a site for a future pavilion.
Other on-site amenities include a public
restroom, bike parking and a small
plaza with seating walls. These site
features are organized around a 12-foot
wide stabilized granite "Main Street"
that intersects the site diagonally.
Inspired by Robert Venturi's
Benjamin Franklin Ghost Houses,
the Smokey Hollow Spirit Houses are
designed to create a memory of what
once was. Each house is anchored
by the remnant of its masonry
chimney and the structures will be
used in a variety of ways to promote
educational activities, festivals and
civic activities. An information kiosk
is strategically located to provide
information about the history of
the original neighborhood. ■
Project Credits: Architects: Lewis
+ Whitlock; City of TallahasseeDesign Works Studio, Preliminary
Concepts; Baycrest Corporation,
General Contractor; City of
Tallahassee-Leon County, Owner.
In the 1960s, the "Deep South" urban
renewal erased what remained of a small
community of shotgun houses located
a few blocks east of the Florida Capitol
in downtown Tallahassee. Bordered by
the former county jail, the incinerator,
electric plant and waterworks buildings,
these shotgun houses occupied one of
the most undesirable parts of the city.
Named for the smoke rising from its
many chimneys, Smokey Hollow, as it
was known, was a local landmark by
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Florida/Caribbean Architect - Summer 2014
President's Perspective / Nathan Butler, AIA, LEED AP
Editorial / Diane D. Greer
Spotlight: Emerging Professionals
Captiva Guest House
Temporary Structures as Urban Elements
Sunrise Public Safety Complex
Judaica Reading Rooms, University of Florida
Wellness Center, Florida State University
Smokey Hollow Commemoration at Cascades Park
Master Plan for an Academic Hospital
Florida/Caribbean Architect - Summer 2014