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 This one, at 5th and Race, used to connect to a building that’s been replaced by a parking lot, so it’s now a dead end.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.