In 2016, River City Company, Tinker Ma, and Public Art Chattanooga partnered to create an alley activation program called Passageways, which temporarily converted five downtown Chattanooga alleyways into pop-up art installations.
For Passageways 2.0, a public space competition, the same partners sought to transform a 6,200-square-foot blighted alley into a vibrant pedestrian corridor through a spatial installation. The winning design was City Thread by SPORTS, the multidisciplinary architecture and design collaborative of Molly Hunker and Greg Corso.
Constructed from a series of large, connected steel tubes that form a single, continuous volume through the alley, City Thread breaks the alley into a series of “urban rooms.” It offers seating areas, mini-stages, and framing for murals and community gatherings like farmers markets and movie screenings. The designers see City Thread as a social connector, both formal and informal.
“City Thread by SPORTS has transformed the alley into an interactive public art experience, providing a sense of discovery and exploration within Chattanooga’s urban environment,” says Meagan Shinn, program director of River City Company. “From ‘silent’ dance parties to outdoor films, the alley is now a place for our community and local businesses to utilize and enjoy.”