Market Square, located at 301 King St. in Old Town Alexandria, is the front yard of Alexandria City Hall. The plaza sits atop an underground parking garage and contains a large central fountain, five tree bed areas, several concrete benches along the perimeter, and, depending on the weather, multiple umbrellas, small tables, and chairs.
The plaza is primarily comprised of concrete structures and brick. Concrete benches and seating areas line the edges of the space near the tree beds. At the southern edge of the space are a bus stop and a tour bus drop-off area with concrete benches for seating, but no bus shelter. The southwest corner of the plaza houses a Capital Bikeshare station. Apart from its function as an entrance to City Hall, the plaza hosts the Old Town Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning. The Farmers’ Market, which accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, hosts more than 70 vendors offering produce and other goods.
Students proposed redesigning the fountain to be smaller to allow for increased programming and use of the space, which could include: yoga and other forms of group exercise; large events; field trips; concerts; dog days; and more. A splash pad that is flush with the ground could surround the new small water feature. When it is turned off, this level surface would provide flexibility for multiple uses, and when it is turned on, it could provide opportunities for play.
Students proposed having a more defined and monumental City Hall entrance so that visitors know where to enter the building. They further recommended adding symbols, markers, and/or smaller, distinct statues to define the entrances and create meeting points for Old Town’s many tourist groups.
To address the need for additional comfortable seating, students proposed: using the raised areas that are covered by trees on the east and west sides of the space; installing movable chairs and tables; and creatings a consistent furniture plan. On each side, they designed two rows of terraced, amphitheater style seating.