After a utility explosion severely damaged Norfolk’s historic Selden Arcade that connects Main and Plume Streets, and adjoins the beautiful new public library, Work Program Architects teamed with others on three projects to reimagine and design the space.
Selden Market: In collaboration with the Downtown Norfolk Council, GROW and the City of Norfolk, WPA designed Selden Market, a vibrant incubator for new businesses. The market provides for multiple small-business tenants, mentors and kiosks for pop-up businesses. The design concept converts former artist studios into open shops and introduces a meandering path of pop-up pegboard kiosks, benches, planters and bar tables. The renovation offers a range of retail footprints, encouraging businesses to support one another and grow within the arcade. The kiosks and casework use a modular design approach and a kit of parts to maximize flexibility, allowing for a variety of future programs and events in the arcade. The program stimulates street-level activity with low lease rates and short-term leases to help businesses shape their model, learn from each other, and build community in a low-risk environment. The highly flexible space is meant to continually evolve, as successful businesses “graduate” and others take their place. Soft wood tones for the angled kiosks and pop-up spaces warm up the arcade’s vaulted space.
Slover Connector: Adding to the dynamism of the Market, the Slover Connector creates a link between the beautiful Slover Library, the new Slover Maker Studio and the Selden Market. Borrowing architectural details and material cues from the library, the connector seamlessly blends into the arcade, guiding visitors toward the center of the market and into the first floor of the library. Stop by, grab a coffee, and relax in the lounge adjacent or check out a book and read on the connector’s bench underneath its skylight.
Maker Studio: The final piece of the Arcade’s development is the Maker Studio, a vibrant place for up-and-coming entrepreneurs to develop and test new ideas in retail, food and art. The space is outfitted with eight 3D printers, a 75-watt laser cutter, 17 Singer sewing machines and several soldering stations. It is the perfect place for anyone with a Norfolk library card to manufacture dreams.
These three projects serve as connective tissue between Norfolk’s newest construction projects, the Slover Library and The Main hotel and conference center. The reactivated arcade once again creates a welcoming pathway between the waterfront and Norfolk’s downtown, now with a creative spirit familiar to the Norfolk community.