Observations: The History
From its inventive architecture and land design to the various attractions and amusements that draw more than 600,000 guests annually, Asbury Park has a long history of being a progressive city. Visitors of all ages have come to Asbury Park to for entertainment, shopping, amusement, and most importantly to experience the sheer electricity of innovation, excitement, and whimsy that is in the air. Today the tradition of creativity is carried on through art, music, and a culture of quality crafted products and services which has sparked the flame to once again make Asbury Park an iconic beacon of innovation and originality.
Observations: The Culture
Asbury Park is comprised of an eclectic community of makers and doers, entrepreneurs and innovators, artists and visionaries. As a city in transition Asbury Park embraces its past, both the good and the bad, providing a sense of authenticity and grit that cannot be replicated nor fabricated. It's a culture that celebrates quirkiness, honors originality, and radiates creativity. Focusing on quality products, services, and experiences - restaurateurs, creatives, and residents have helped breathe new life into the spirit of Asbury Park. The energy and optimism about the future is contagious and the dream of greatness is quickly becoming a reality.
Art in the Streets: Urban Wayfinding
As the role of information is changing so too must the way it is presented. More and more people are seeking personalized and tailored information to suit their needs. In an urban environment it is important to have signage which is flexible and can adapt to meet the needs of the specific location in which it is placed - both from a vehicular and pedestrian point of view. Therefore an interchangeable panel system was developed that creates a clear hierarchy of information, conserves space and enhances usability. In the past, Asbury Park was known as an entertainment and international coastal destination, where innovation and creativity were attractions in themselves. Today, the city’s tradition of creativity is alive and well - taking shape in various art forms ranging from sculpture, music, street art, and murals. RSM Design was inspired by the creativity, eclecticism, and hand crafted quality of its architecture, businesses, and culture to develop a signage system that identifies, connects and enhances the experience that is Asbury Park.
Creating an Urban Edge: Flexible Pavilions
The success of Ocean Avenue relies heavily on the development of a strong pedestrian connection across the street, activating the spaces in between and giving the user cause to explore. The proposed design for the flexible pavilions located along Ocean Ave. uses a simple steel support frame that can be broke up into three individual sections to allow for multiple uses. Retail tenants and cafes that transform into vibrant active spaces during operation hours, bike storage and amenity rentals for guests and visitors, even open air pavilions with seating, restrooms and lockers. There is also the opportunity to integrate the street name into the pavilions, branding them as ‘Second Avenue Pavilion,’ referencing a similar technique from the past used on the boardwalk.
A City in Transition: Creating a Healthy Street
Placemaking is based on a simple principle: if you plan cities for cars and traffic, you will get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you will get people and places. Therefore it is essential to focus on the “spaces in between” by activating the streetscape experience, knitting together varied uses, developments, and destinations. This helps to bridge the gap and creates a link between the two that is both unique, engaging, and fully integrated into the urban fabric of Asbury Park.