Street Profiles

Studio exCultura

Lindsay Harkema & Sasha Topolnytska

Brooklyn, New York


Our proposal “Street Profiles” seeks to reimagine the alleyway as a site of collective memory and storytelling. In our research about the history of Chattanooga, we were captivated by old photographs of the bustling Market St., circa the 1930s. The main street is a long held image of urban activity and social exchange. Spatial qualities and textures such as layering of local business signage, the overlay of streetcar wires overhead and the lively character of the storefronts and passerby themselves become the inspiration for our design proposal. Amidst ongoing large scale construction and development projects that offer new opportunities for urban growth and yet also contribute to an erasure of local histories, we have identified the need to highlight the unique and authentic aspects of Chattanooga city. “Street Profiles” intends to create an experimental collage of past and present, with a focus on the unique local histories and present grassroots initiatives.

“Street Profiles” is a project situated between architectural design, urban intervention, and cultural storytelling. It seeks to reinterpret and reimagine the interaction between people, place, and event through a language of architectural objects. The proposed intervention is a collection of 3D profiles from the historical image of Chattanooga’s Market St. Our intention is to evoke the layered, dynamic character of the bustling urban street through a layered, spatial collage of curious yet familiar forms which function as storytelling devices, sharing the cultural “ profiles” of the local community.

With the help of the organizers, a collection of local histories and narratives will be communicated as graphic text applied to the objects, as well presented by various individuals at storytelling events. Working with graphic designers and tech project engineers, we aim to add a layer of information and interactive storytelling through this graphic application to the physical objects, as well as a digital application that would allow visitors to access more detailed accounts of local storytellers virtually in tandem with the experience of the built environment.