58 Fore Street: Journey Through In-Between Spaces

Carving away the in-between. Modeling the site in three-dimensions helps to best understand spatial availability.
Perspectives: Top-View of "Maker Museum" from open/park space. Middle-View through terraced in-between. Site Model 1" = 5
Project Map: Portland, Maine
City Zoning: Height Limits
Focus: Locating The "Node". An exciting place to experience.
Existing Conditions: Historic steam locomotive fabrication facility
Existing Conditions: Proximity to the various surrounding urban fabric
Misalignments Create Overlapping Spaces
Top: Carving / Bottom: Circulation
Elevated Pedestrian Circulation / Resulting Building Forms
Spatial Closure Definition
Imagining the in-between: Crafting expirence

Primary Author

  • Adam Wallace


  • University of Maine at Augusta


  • Eric Stark (Program Coordinator/adviser)


  • Eric Stark


The scope of this research investigates and analyzes exterior public in-between spaces, and how our engagement with those spaces is affected by the immediate environment. Our engagement can be altered based on how connected or distracted we are by the spaces themselves; distracted in this case referring to our sense of time. If we are briefly unaware of how much time has passed we are more cognitively engaged. Awareness of our surroundings ensured personal safety as well as the possibility of catching the next meal therefore can be argued that humans are wired to be most aware when passing through these in-between spaces. I will perform a series of sectional and plan analyses with a focus on how these in-between spaces affect the user and his/her movement through that space. I will refer to the “prescribed use” which can be understood as the space that the city planner or designer has designated for a certain activity. More often than not the prescribed use spaces are defined with minor physical spatial definitions between them. However, implied boundaries can divide the space making a large space feel smaller, or vice versa. At the same time, these boundaries, if less defined, could allow for weaving of prescribed uses that create unique, exciting in-between space and exciting experience. Second, I will analyze the proximity of various types of destinations spaces and how the users circulate between the spaces; residents, tourists, and workers, all move through the in-between spaces with different destinations, and directional intentions.

Project Statement

The central waterfront of Portland is made up of a dynamic blend of active and inactive fishing wharfs, which creates an interesting and irregular shaped edge between water and land. The architecture in this area was originally constructed to support the activities of the active fishing industry. Built abutting the undulating established streets, the footprints of the buildings were shaped organically. The combination of these two contributing aspects of the immediate environments proves to be the perfect canvas for heavy circulation year round. The eastern waterfront of Portland between the Portland House, and India Street, needs more pedestrian traffic. This waterfront land offers some of the best panoramic views out over Casco Bay and its islands. Currently the only place to stop and enjoy the view is along the shared use path. Comfortable infrastructure that supports public use space is lacking. There is a gap in the sense of place when walking east along Thames Street to the multi-use path that continues along the eastern waterfront. The Portland Company at 58 Fore Street sits just beyond this break in this sense of place. Several historic buildings of the Portland Company remain on the site and are significant, both in their construction and their spatial relationship to each other. Offering places that increase the public’s use of this site will expand the already exciting and dynamic Old Port further east, and allow for spaces along the waterfront that offer unobstructed views of Casco Bay.

Project Description

Where on the site would development draw people through the site most effectively? If people could circulate past the historic Portland Company complex, and into the newly created streets, this would activate a large portion of the site. I decided to focus on a block at the east end of the site, the “node.” Having created the available building volumes in three-dimension, testing this theory was quite easy. I could apply many of the same rules that helped carve the entire site earlier. The goal of this exercise is to not only carve away the in-between space, but also to test how size and scale of the spaces effect the human experience. If circulation from Fore Street to the waterfront directly through the site were possible how would pedestrians move through those spaces? What if a single block of building volume was removed to allow for a tension between smaller scaled space and large open space? In order to alleviate some of the maze like qualities of the spaces that up to this point are narrow, and are defined by tall masses, simple extrusions of where the streets don’t exist we could remove a block. This open space would allow for a large courtyard or park that would provide a dynamic change in scale and size of space. This extra space will allow the buildings to breathe a little and offer a wonderful connection to that shared open space.

Carving away the in-between. Modeling the site in three-dimensions helps to best understand spatial availability.