In May 2016, River City Company and AIA Tennessee launched an open invitation to architects, designers, engineers and artists from around the world to take part in Passageways: Activating the Urban Alley through Architecture design challenge. The competition was an investigation into the importance and the potential of auxiliary pedestrian spaces throughout Chattanooga, and the creation of space within our existing connected alleyway network. AIA Tennessee and River City Company used their broad range of networks to launch a call for design submissions that emphasized constructability, contextuality and sustainability. The RFP encouraged teams to intelligently and creatively optimize the surrounding urban context of the site to create a thoughtful, engaging and well- designed space.

Over 80 submissions were received from all over the world. The winning designs were Neural Alley, Revenge of the Electric Woman from Brooklyn, NY; Stargaze, Heavy from New York City, NY; Stage Genies, Art 120 & Mindstride from Chattanooga, TN; Garden Grass [Inversion], Team GFB from Chattanooga, TN and Urban Chandelier, Office Feuerman from Sydney, Australia.

Since the program’s launch, River City Company continued to animate the Passageways alleys with free, community events and activities. From movie screenings to a month-long lunchtime program called Picnic in the Passageways, River City Company partnered with 55 community organizations and local businesses to host 22 community-led events in the Passageways with a total of 4,000 attendees over the course of the year. The purpose of the year-long animation was to increase foot traffic in City Center and to offer opportunities for the community to engage with the installations over an extended period of time. With the success of the initial Passageways program, River City Company, Public Art Chattanooga and tinker ma are excited to launch Passageways 2.0, which will transform a new alleyway into a permanent community space.


River City Company, tinker ma and Public Art Chattanooga are seeking multi-disciplinary design team proposal. Up to three teams will be selected and awarded $3,000 stipends to further develop site specific proposals to activate the proposed alleyway and create a vibrant pedestrian corridor. The implemented design will enhance a new downtown alleyway in the heart of City Center, utilizing unique, innovative design concepts with a cohesive artistic vision. The project entails designing a spatial installation that is habitable and can be adapted for use as a small public event space. The design must be safe for public use. This opportunity is open to design teams internationally. This project is made possible by generous grants from the Benwood and Lyndhurst Foundations. The receipt deadline is Friday, November 3, 2017 by 12:00pm EST.


With the overwhelmingly positive community response to the original Passageways program, River City Company, tinker ma and Public Art Chattanooga aim to continue the momentum by presenting Passageways 2.0, a permanent installation focused on the urban fabric that exists between our city’s buildings.

Successful urban places relate well to the larger community context. They contribute to the broader environment by their location, partnership with other places, and interaction with immediate neighbors. Often overlooked and forgotten, alleyways play an important role in creating a healthy urban environment. Passageways 2.0 seeks to re-imagine the alleyway and demonstrate the potential and significance these in-between spaces have to our built environment.

The Passageways 2.0 alley will create interesting views to and from good public space, offering visual connections with landscape and the cityscape beyond. With the increase in residential development in City Center and a vibrant Innovation District, foot traffic throughout the area is growing. With limited open space in City Center, Passageways 2.0 and ongoing community events will provide opportunities for Chattanoogans to connect and feel part of a greater community.


Passageways 2.0 seeks to create a vibrant pedestrian corridor through the quality of design to establish a sense of place and community in Downtown Chattanooga’s City Center. The goal is to activate a new alleyway in the heart of Downtown Chattanooga between the 728 Market Street Residential Development (Market City Center) and the 700 block of Cherry Street (includes The CO-OP, Lamp Post Properties’ mixed use development, Burns Tobacco and Chattanooga Billiards Club) through a spatial installation.


$80,000 is the budget for project implementation. The budget includes expenses related to completed installation, including (but not limited to) design fees, site preparation and restoration, technical consultation, including engineering approval, travel to the site, fabrication, insurance, installation, permit fees, documentation, all applicable taxes, etc.


  • Experiential

    Create a work of art that engages the user in a multitude of ways.

  • Spatial

    The installation should define space.

  • Placemaking

    The space should possess a sense of identity and character in order to create a sense of place.

  • Beauty

    The space should move us.

  • Habitable

    A positive place that is life-affirming, safe, and secure.

  • Significance

    A place that tells a story; one that is meaningful, and creates value, and enhances our own identity – a space with substance, weight, density, and depth.

  • Connection

    A place that connects to the larger community context and contributes to the broader environment, partners with other places, and interacts with its immediate neighbors.

  • Gathering

    The design should promote gathering at a small public scale

  • Longevity

    The installation is permanent and should be designed as such.

  • Constructibility

    The design must reflect a thorough understanding of how the installation will be put together within the given budget.


Design Team Eligibility

This is an international competition open to design teams interested in developing integrated concepts for the Passageways alley site. Multi-disciplinary teams are encouraged to apply and may include artists, architects and landscape architects. Other trades, such as multi-media, technologists, lighting, sound designers and/or engineers are encouraged to collaborate as well.

Proposal Honorarium

Up to three design teams may be selected from this RFP phase and an honorarium of $3,000 will be provided for concept-design development, which should include travel costs for one site visit, and all costs associated with developing a complete and thorough site specific proposal.

Selection Committee

The Selection Committee will include at least, but not limited to, one artist, one architect, one landscape architect, Public Art Chattanooga representatives, staff members from Chattanooga Department of Transportation, River City Company and a representative of the City Center neighborhood community.

Review Criteria

Submissions will be evaluated by a Design Jury of renowned designers and artists. The Chattanooga selection committee will review the evaluations from the Design Jury and select up to three design teams who will be invited to visit the site and further develop a project proposal consisting of conceptual drawings and documents outlining a timeline and budget.

After selection, finalists will have approximately three months to finalize their design and submit the conceptual proposal to be reviewed by the selection committee. The committee will recommend proceeding with one project.



  • SEPTEMBER 25 , 2017

    RFP Distributed

  • NOVEMBER 3, 2017 – 12:00 PM EST

    Deadline for Submissions

  • NOVEMBER 10-17, 2017

    Review of proposals by Design Jury

  • DECEMBER 12, 2017

    Local Selection Committee Meets

  • DECEMBER 13-15, 2017

    Finalists Announced


  • JANUARY 2018

    Site Visit + Meet the Community


    Design Development

  • APRIL 2018

    Winning Design Selected

  • MAY – June 2018

    Finalize Design and Documentation


  • SUMMER 2018

    Fabrication + Installation

  • FALL 2018

    Grand Opening



George King

George King is an award winning chartered architect who has worked on projects in Europe, US, Australia, the Middle East and Russia. In 2015 George founded George King Architects, a design studio that works within the disciplines of architecture, art and design. The studio’s work includes commercial and residential buildings, large sculptures and interactive installations. Prior to forming GKA, George was senior architect at Zaha Hadid Architects where he worked on projects including the London 2012 Olympic Aquatic Centre and Oxford University Middle East Centre.

Mike Lydon

Mike Lydon is a Principal with Street Plans and leads the firm’s New York City office. Mike is an internationally recognized planner, writer, speaker, and advocate for livable cities. NPR, The New York Times, CNN Headline News, ABC News, City Lab, Planetizen, Salon, Next City, Architect Magazine, and Streetsblog have featured his work, among other publications.

William Feuerman

William Feuerman is a designer, academic and writer working in Australia and the US. He is the Director of Office Feuerman (OF), a Sydney-based design and research office, founded in New York in 2007. Before starting OF, William worked at several leading international architecture firms including five years at Bernard Tschumi Architects in New York.

Chakaia Booker

Sculptor Chakaia Booker fuses ecological concerns with explorations of racial and economic difference, globalization, and gender by recycling discarded tires into complex assemblages and installations. A series of her sculptures are currently on public exhibition through April 2018 in Chicago’s Millennium Park, Boeing Galleries. Booker received a B.A. in sociology from Rutgers University and an M.F.A. from the City College of New York. She gained international acclaim at the 2000 Whitney Biennial with It’s So Hard to Be Green (2000), her 12.5 x 21 foot wall-hung tire sculpture. Booker received the Pollock-Krasner Grant in 2002 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005. She has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally.

Proposed Site

The alley is directly accessible to the general public as well as residential and commercial tenants on Market and Cherry Streets. The unique location of this space positions it as accessible to pedestrians from Market Street, Cherry Street and 7th Street, creating the potential for an active pedestrian corridor in the heart of Downtown Chattanooga. The Urban Chandelier installation, commissioned out of the first phase of Passageways, will remain permanent in the L-shaped alleyway that connects Cherry Street to the proposed space for Passageways 2.0. Thus, Urban Chandelier will continue to draw in passersby as they explore City Center, leading them to a vibrant, experiential space hosting the Passageways 2.0 space.

The alley is approximately 300’ long and varies in width from 12’ (entry off of 7th Street) to 23’ (most of the remainder), and the total area is approximately 6,200 SF, not including the “Urban Chandelier” alley to Cherry Street.

Have Questions?

Contact passagewayscha@gmail.com with any additional questions or concerns you may have.