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CALIFORNIA THE FRESNO FARMERS' MARKET|
A COMMERCIAL MARKET COMMUNITY BRINGING NEIGHBORHOOD
AND COMMERCIAL SPACE TOGETHER
This page is dedicated to Richard Erganian, and to the farmers who have brought their produce to market here, for the last twenty years.
The Fresno market is on a prominent city block in Fresno, California, at the intersection of Shaw and Blackstone. The block is 800 feet by 600 feet.|
The first market building, which we built about 20 years ago, forms the core of the 12-acre site, and will be the core of the commercial buildings that are built around it. We began work on plans for the whole market area about 20 years ago, and, at Richard's request, first built the structure to house the main market. It is an arched timber structure on concrete block piers, 120 feet long, and 40 feet wide. Richard set to work and planted vines all over it, and they now provide a leafy shade. Fresno can be very, very hot.
Not long after we built the market, Richard moved his mother's old house from downtown Fresno, and put it on blocks to the west of the structure. See the map below.
Once the market was built, Richard began to explore his life-long dream to create a city block in modern ,urban California, that was able to preserve, and encourage, the human community, the mutual respect, the informal way of living, and the importance of human relations and friendliness. Many times during the ensuing years he expressed frustration with the deadly "development game" and its pressure to replace flesh and blood with plastic, but he has hung in their, never losing sight of this dream.
|Views of construction, streets and public places within the market
POINTS OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THIS PROJECT|
This project is especially interesting because of its relationship to time. Richard, from the beginning, has been determined to do this well. He wants to show what is possible, when things are being done well and when one manages to avoid the traps of business-as-usual development. As a result, it has taken him a very long, long time to prepare his mind, and work out a sure path.
At the bottom of the page, you will find discussion of this particular challenge for a generative code that needs to create a flexible response to an uncertain commercial situation.
The structure as it was first built
An ordinary day at market
The market has been so successful that a few years ago a book was written to record its story, and the source of community which the building and the market have generated. A watercolor made for a recent book which celebrates the 20-year continued existence of this market, as a human and social phenomenon, created by the strong bonds of feeling between Richard Erganian and the farmers he works with, and his habits of caring and responsibility and genuine, folksy, warmth and style.
Abundant Harvest: Scenes, Stories, and Recipes from Fresno's Vineyard Farmers Market by Sharon Young (Paperback - Jan 1995)
One of the watercolors from the book Abundant Harvest.
Below, the Fresno market from the distance, just before nightfall, surrounded by cypress trees.|
|FURTHER DISCUSSION OF THE FRESNO GENERATIVE CODE|
A GENERATIVE CODE FOR GROWTH OF A COMMERCIAL AREA
A CODE FOR THE STEPWISE CONSTRUCTION OF THE FRESNO MARKET BUILDINGS
Richard's aim has always been to build something truly beautiful -- a place for community, and vivid life, as much as a place of commerce. In the course of his work, he is constantly having to juggle tenants, keep them happy, try to meet their requests, even knowing that this tenant will want this and such, while the next tenant who comes will very likely want something else. Needs for parking, built space, entrances, visibility from the highway, all change continuously. No conventional form of "design" can solve these problems successfully.|
The more we have worked on the problem, we have arrived at the notion that the key ingredients are, in this order:
|FUTURE DISCUSSION Further ongoing discussion of the generative code for the stepwise conception and layout and construction of the Fresno neighborhood, and how its future can be made to unfold successfully, while dealing with the financial uncertainties of a small-town developer, will be presented in an open document that can be accessed here.|