Sunday, December 5, 2010

Wanted: Iconic Signage for Maine Avenue Fish Market

The Washington Examiner reports that the Hoffman-Madison Marquette Waterfront team is looking to create an iconic sign to beckon people to the Maine Avenue Fish Market on the Southwest Waterfront. This proposed sign would be akin to the Domino Sugars sign that's a part of the Baltimore skyline. From the article:
"We want the fish market to stay how it is -- the same messiness, the same crazy parking scheme," said Stan Eckstut, a consultant and principal of Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects. "[But it's missing] an icon really to announce to people about this place, that we are welcoming people to D.C."..."We want the place to feel authentic and alive and real, and it's a jolt from the federal Mall experience," he said. "I hate to say this in a federal context, but we're trying to create a place that doesn't work."
The design of Market Square on the Southwest Waterfront is intended to be a bit chaotic, similar to Pike Place Market in Seattle, where pedestrians mix with limited vehicle traffic. In addition, a new farmer's market will be built north of the fish market to replace the head house market that once existed in the area back in the 1930s. A seasonal market, brewery, cafes, picnic tables, and restaurants will be located in this informal space and a couple of barges will be added to the area.

Update: DCMud also has an article about the plans for Market Square and other areas of the Southwest Waterfront. The DCMud piece also describes the intended feel of the Market Square to be similar to Pike Place Market, but also throws in other West Coast city markets, like the Ferry Terminal in San Francisco and Granville Island Public Market in Vancouver. I happened to visit all three of these markets while I was away on a 3-week vacation out West in August. I had some excellent food truck pork porchetta at the Ferry Terminal, watched workers toss fish at Pike Place Market, and took a water taxi to Granville Island Public Market. Each market had a different vibe, but all of them worked well. Pike Place was the most "chaotic" while the other two markets seemed to be more orderly in nature.


AK said...

Much as I love the idea of keeping the feel of authenticity to the market, I don't know that the developers should be trying to preserve the "messiness" and "crazy parking scheme." These are the reasons I don't go to the fish market very often now, despite living only a few blocks away. I look forward to a renovated market place that retains some of the feel of the old with some significant improvements in terms of access, seating, and cleanliness. As for an iconic sign, I consider the current Captain White Seafood City sign to be pretty notable, though perhaps they are looking for a more general sign for the whole market place, rather than a sign for one specific business.

David said...

Got to imagine that fixing the parking is in everyone's best interests. Not just annoying, but dangerous. Ever taken a bushel of crabs on the Metro?