They’ve done it once and they’re doing it again. San Diego based architecture firm RAD LAB has partnered with the City of San Diego to turn vacant, publicly owned land into experimental year-round pop-up venues within re-purposed shipping containers.
Quartyard, a collaborative project located on city-owned land, explores a rotating display of craft food and drink, music, art, and culture. The idea began as a thesis project for of a group of grad students from NewSchool of Architecture & Design. The thesis team targeted city-owned properties in order to facilitate the use of public land for public good, even if only temporarily, since they knew the land would likely be developed or sold within the next 2 to 10 years.
The students have since formed the architecture firm RAD LAB and taken on the challenge to momentarily occupy the city’s vacant properties with music, events, retail, restaurants, art galleries, and community-based uses. They have transformed what were once empty lots into thriving urban parks. The project employs recycled and retrofitted shipping containers which act as the core building blocks. These containers serve as a temporary placeholder for a future permanent development.
After two years at its first location, the city sold the property to a developer as planned; Quartyard picked up its containers and moved off to make way for the planned high-rise development. It relocated to another vacant city-owned lot in East Village, less than 500 feet from its original location. Quartyard operates as the city’s courtyard, allowing an underused lot to quickly become a vibrant focal point the city can be proud of, proving the model of true temporary urban infill.
Quartyard continues to serve as a model for cities across the U.S. looking for unique economically viable ways to reinvent blighted lots, while enhancing the community and surrounding areas. In line with its slogan, “Your City Block”, Quartyard acts as the city’s very own backyard.