Skywalk to Nowhere

Downtown Cincinnati skywalk

Downtown Cincinnati has a network of skywalks connecting many of the office buildings. This one, at 5th and Race, used to connect to a building that’s been replaced by a parking lot, so it’s now a dead end. I’ve heard that it may eventually be removed. In the mean time, or instead of demolition, here are some alternate use ideas.

Use this odd structure for a site-specific installation. It could be viewable for the inside, from the street, or both. Let an artist figure out how to deal with the odd site and turn it into something amazing.

Or, turn it into a new business incubator. It’s not far from other retail and, with a bit of vision, could be a swank little retail spot, and its windows could be used as a high-visibility advertisement for the program.

Or, combine, these two ideas — Artworks, Cincinnati’s uber-cool art program, is right up the street from the skywalk. Their summer program could help high school students channel their creative energy into an entrepreneurial endeavor. A mentor, maybe someone from DAAP, could guide the apprentices through a product development project that would launch and be sold in this funky space, an appropriately surprising spot for a pop-up shop.

Unless and until this skywalk is either demolished or able to be used again, let’s find a use for it. Otherwise, this phallic structure is not only a bit of blight on the streetscape, but a kind of accidental folly that invites ridicule and makes downtown look foolish.

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18 thoughts on “Skywalk to Nowhere

  1. The artworks idea would be awesome. I would be pretty excited to be involved with something like that…I just moved back to Cincinnati (graduated DAAP Industrial Design ’08) to start design grad school at DAAP this fall, and had done my final project designing goods for craftsman production in Brazil (http://mattinbrazil.tumblr.com/). I had been thinking about bringing some of that experience back and doing kind of a local production idea for some home goods, working with a non-profit possibly, but I hadn’t really thought about Artworks before. I’m still looking for some temporary work before school starts, and Artworks would be really cool to be involved with…do you think they would go for something like that?

  2. I’m sure that ArtWorks, or an organization like it, would think this is a cool idea, at least in principle, although I have no clue how feasible it is to get something like this off the ground. I see this dysfunctional skywalk almost every day, and it’s just such a missed opportunity for a creative intervention of some sort.

  3. Stop this at once. This is Cincinnati. We have no use for creative, cost-effective ideas than enhance the city’s sociocultural profile.

    Go Bengals!

  4. Ah, the skywalks of Cincy. I remember bragging about being able to get from The Westin to Shillitos without ever touching the ground. You could even get an awesome chocolate chip cookie and catch a movie on the way!

    Haven’t these turned out to be a big urban planning folly? Removing people from the street level equation? I love ’em, they are just so Cincy to me. I want to see something bursting out of the left side of it, or pouring down to street level. Anything besides flying pigs!

  5. The skywalks are total Cincinnati, and totally out of vogue at this point [well, for cities without crazy winters, at least]. I’m with you, Becky, in that they could transformed in some way. I’d prefer that over razing them, and over leaving them in their current state [especially this particular one].

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  7. It would be cool if Cincy could create some sort of mini skywalk version of The High Line all over the city. Stairs extending down from the open end of this would be a perfect public entry point. Ever since I saw your post, I keep thinking about it!

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  9. I think we could use this space as an urban adventure site. Bring back the canal by digging up Race street, remove the windows, and allow people who are afraid of heights to bungy jump from the skywalk.

  10. Matthew, the skywalk is still there, at least for the moment. My guess is that it will be torn down before the new building goes up across the street, but I could be wrong.

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