Nikhil Patel's Community Market

2018 National DiscoverDesign Competition:


My community market, located at 2211 W 35th Street, a vacant lot near the 35th/Archer station, will serve the McKinley Park neighborhood by meeting their needs for local and fresh food. This will enable community interactions by providing a vibrant social gathering space, and a venue to showcase and celebrate local artwork and performances.


Collect Info

Prior to designing the community market, I did research on the site, surrounding neighborhood, and noteworthy local buildings. I also did several case studies of other markets. I started by researching the demographics of the area. I found that according to US census data, the majority of the neighborhood’s residents are Latino/Latina, and 27.9% of the population is under the age of 18. 26% of people living in the surrounding neighborhood are living in poverty. My next step was to use the "On The Map US Census Service" to understand how the neighborhood’s residents commute to work. The results indicated that the majority of residents take public transport or drive cars to travel northeast towards downtown Chicago. After collecting data about the site, I conducted case studies on markets in Latin America and architectural landmarks in Chicago. While it is necessary for at least part of my market to be indoors, I want it to be as open as possible, to promote a sense of unity throughout the space. Since the intervention is a transit-oriented development, it is essential for my solution to be high-density. TOD's are also typically mixed-use, and since high-density housing is not included in the program, it is necessary to create a design that is adaptable and can accommodate future additions to the site.


Brainstorm Ideas

Before brainstorming my ideas, I created zoning and site maps using census data to understand how traffic would flow through the surrounding area. I concluded that the northeastern (upper-left in images) corner of the site would be the most trafficked, so my major entrance should be there. I then began to sketch my ideas. In the beginning, I was drawn to ideas that involved organic curved structures. I realized that my initial ideas didn’t economize space, and would not meet the goals of a transit-oriented development. Given that the majority of the local population is Latino/Latina, I wanted my market to mimic the format of a traditional Mexican market, with a central plaza-like area surrounded by stalls. In addition, it was essential for the market to have an outdoor component that could be used in the summer, while keeping the majority of it indoors, so it could also be used in the winter. Additionally, I added programming for a performance area, to be used for large community gatherings, and a gallery to showcase local art. For my final idea, I tried to capture both rectangular, space-efficient styles with the organic curves I was initially drawn to.

Develop Solutions

My intervention is a two-story market, with an additional outdoor market component that can be used in the summer. The first floor is the heart of the market. Here users can buy locally and organically grown fresh produce, meat, fish, and other baked and inedible goods. In the center of the building is a stage for performance and an open space where rows of chairs can be set up for community meetings and performances. Behind the southern end of the market is a one-lane road that allows vendors to transport their goods directly through the loading door at the southern end of the building to their stalls for easier access. The first-floor bathrooms are also located at the southern end of the building. An elevator and staircase to the second floor are located near the building main entrance in the northeastern corner. In addition, a circulation ramp connects the two floors on the western edge of the building. The stalls on the second floor of the building all sell food and drinks. On the Western end of the building, before the ramp, is an art gallery that will showcase local artwork. Seating areas and vendor stalls are located throughout the around perimeter of the building. In the center of this floor are multiple “seating pods.” Seating pods are small platforms with seating areas on them. They connect to form an organic, playful lattice above the first floor, maintaining the desired open feeling of the market, while also utilizing valuable space. The pods produce a feeling of community by placing their occupants in the heart of the market. The second-floor bathrooms are also located towards the southern end of the building. The outdoor market has a similar format to the first floor, with a central area surrounded by stalls. It also has seating areas scattered throughout the area.


ruthkirb 3 months ago
It must be noted that I appreciate this project most compared to the others here at discoverdesign given its made for Latino/a population. The same level of attention to details I've seen only at whom I pay for coding homework, as I'm not that good at computer sciences but still want to be a part of them. I think the following project should be sponsored and supported by the masses.

Final Design

During the summer, some of the vendors can sell their fares outside, to make use of the amazing weather. The outdoor market has a similar format to the first floor, with a central area surrounded by stalls. It also has seating areas scattered throughout the area. My market represents the abstraction of the relationship between work and home; between the new and exciting, and beautifully simple; between the rectangular and organically curved. This is represented in the building’s western ramp, the seating pods, the indoor vendor stalls, and the layout of the outdoor market. The building was designed and optimized to be easily accessible to the greatest number of people possible. Every detail was designed with intent: the first-floor stalls are based on common art Latino/Latina art motifs.


Competition Jury 2 years ago
You have great case studies, demographics, and site plans. You have potential to lose some business due to lack of foot traffic by putting vendors on the second floor. I really like the transparency of the space and how you included an L train in the renderings.
JustARunner 2 years ago
This is a gorgeous design that sets out to do justice but it does lack some aspects in the organization where some areas could have been advantageous in other locations. This is a very unique design and seems like it is trying to make a bold statement of social good. The information you've provided is very succinct and shows a clear control of the narrative.
kathleenkclay 5 months ago
I think this design has been quite beautiful for both sellers and customers, and one of the important issues to pay attention to is that it is suitable for disabled people and children's cars, I hope that attention has been paid to them in this design. kathleen