Downtown Iowa City Pop-Up Shops

Iowa City, Iowa
600 Sq.Ft.

The Iowa City Downtown District asked for proposals from qualified firms to provide the design, fabrication and installation of Holiday Pop-Up retail shops to be located in the downtown pedestrian area. The shops were to create a holiday market impression, be ADA accessible, heated, easily mobile and durable.

Our office worked with a team of carpenters specialized in constructing and delivering gazebo type structures and sheds. Planning of the typical 8'x8'x16' module conformed to typical 4x8 nature of building materials to maximize economy and was limited by the transportability offered by a typical flatbed trailer. A post and beam structural frame of locally cut rough-sawn white oak is clad with local smooth yellow pine slats over colored polycarbonate panels. The interior ceiling and floor are clad with yellow pine plywood and the interior crib slots are utilized as shelving supports for flexible interior display. The structural timber post and beam frame is laterally supported by crossing steel rods and straps, all of which are purposely exposed in an honest decorative expression.

The three Pop-up shop modules appropriate and contemporize the Iowa corn crib. They are axially arranged on existing building entrances and around a shared accessible boardwalk. Glazed ends and entrances provide "storefront" display while the colored polycarbonate panels sandwiched between corn crib slats offer individuality and when lit from within become holiday ornaments. Vertical trellis elements help to give presence in a dense urban landscape.

While exploring the program we realized that these small structures were well suited for many public events beyond the holiday season. Our recommendation along with positive public opinion has seen the units adapted and used in a myriad of downtown festivities ranging from Summer Artfest to Public Library Reading Program.

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