pocketpark design
opelika, alabama

The familiar rumble of the train rattling and whistling down the tracks frequently fills the air in downtown Opelika Alabama. It was this railroad network that fueled Opelika’s rapid growth during the 19th and 20th centuries and still structures the downtown grid today. Next to these rails lie a collection of historic cotton warehouses in which lively businesses are beginning to bustle again.

At the core of the historic cotton warehouse district lies a void where a building once stood. Previously used as a loading dock, this outdoor area is now being reinterpreted as a pocket park for the surrounding warehouse district. The conceptual design for the pocket park imagines this fragmented space as an animated event venue complete with a central stage, layers of viewing platforms, gaggles of shade trees, and industrial-scaled pivoting steel doors. Long after cotton was dethroned, this space aspires to re-emerge as the epicenter for the community of makers, artists, and creatives that are flocking to the district.

H I L L W O R K S \ \ \ \ \ \ \ p r o j e c t s

LOCAL HISTORIES: 1924 Sanborn map reveals the structure serving as the Farmers’ Alliance
Cotton Warehouses. Founded in 1875, Farmers’ Alliance united southern farmers by establishing
cooperative stores, warehouses, and cotton gins. The warehouses participated in a steady flow
of goods between the local farms and regional rails.

MATERIAL PALETTES: the cotton warehouse district is characterized by the
rich patina of materials and strategic patchwork that results from decades of
Southern resourcefulness.

existing site currently used as a music venue

LEBANON ARTS DISTRICT: In 1837 a group of people established Lebanon, a
Methodist meetinghouse around which grew up Opelika. In honor of this history,
the emerging community of artists, makers, and creatives have christened the
area the Lebanon Arts District.

early studies of the entry sequence

remnants of the former fire suppression system

existing site looking towards the west wall

EVOLVING MURAL: Each artist that performs in the district is layered into an ever-changing mural
that dances along the western edge of the space.