New York Times (July 2016)
A Beer Garden Lays Down Roots for a Technology Hub
"Quartyard — conceived of and built by a Rad Lab, a student-led organization, and the community — is a beer garden, event space and dog park in the downtown East Village neighborhood of this city. Its projected transition from 25,000-square-foot vacant lot to urban park to housing is part of a larger plan to create an employment hub in the neighborhood’s tech corridor."
- Lauren Herstik
"Sustainability and repurposed materials were a core building block in this project, from the shipping containers to our tree planters made from recycled dumpsters. Our trash bins are even repurposed barrels, and the wood for our beer garden tables is all reclaimed—some of it is 100 years old. In my opinion, as young designers, it is our responsibility to design environmentally friendly projects. Sustainability is simply part of the way we need to be looking at future architecture."
“Quartyard is an urban park and the first of its kind downtown,” says David Loewenstein, 30, the designer and cofounder of the pop-up urban space. “The most surprising part about downtown [San Diego] is there just isn’t a place you can already go to sit outside, have a beer, just hang out, bring a lunch, have a lunch—so to be able to set up a location like that is such a no-brainer.”
San Diego entrepreneurs have been launching everything from cold-pressed juices to biomedical research products, transforming this military mega-plex into a startup capital. No longer just a vacation destination, San Diego has a business scene that’s brewing… and producing a lot more than just beer. These days, the “app for that” may well have been born here, and the mind(s) behind it may have been born not so long ago. Here are a few dozen local folks who are going for glory, many of whom have traded their jobs to pursue new trades — not to mention to end up in good company.
- Paul Body
Best of San Diego 2015: Culture & Business (August 2015)
Must-see galleries, performances, Tijuana hotspots, and more
"In an area previously skimpy on public space, the vacant lot-turned-urban park has filled a void. The brainchild of RadLab’s Jason Grauten, David Lowenstein, and Philip Auchettl, who pitched the idea as their thesis at the New School of Architecture & Design, the Quartyard boasts a beer garden, sausage restaurant, dog park, night markets, and more. Everything on site is transportable, including the Paul Basile-retrofitted shipping containers that double as a coffee shop, full-service bar, office space, and more. 1102 Market Street, East Village"
- Erin Meanley Glenny
" Once the team at San Diego's RAD Lab graduated from NewSchool of Architecture and Design, they wasted no time in implementing their thesis project: Quartyard a 25,000 - square-foot mobile urban park that opened in March in a vacant lot in downtown San Diego."
"This all-in-one urban park in the East Village populated with repurposed shipping containers and long, communal tables has a dog run, free Wi-Fi, and a bar with 26 local brews on tap. Beer-friendly food, like sausage sandwiches from S&M Sausage and Meat, and a host of grub provided by rotating food trucks makes it a great place to make new friends in the neighborhood, whether you’re a human or a dog."
- Erin Jackson
"Their company is called Rad Lab and just a few years ago they came together to provide cutting-edge design and development within both a public and private space. Quartyard is a perfect example of what these guys can do, turning a vacant 25,000-square-foot lot into what is now an eco-friendly outdoor community for people to enjoy coffee, food and live entertainment. And with summer around the corner, they plan on hosting cultural events, farmers markets and film festivals as well."
- Amber Mesker
"The Quartyard is Rad Lab's first design and development project that utilizes a vacant lot on the corner of Market Street and Park Boulevard and turns it into an enjoyable space for the public."
- Heidi Kwon
"Quartyard -- the new outdoor music venue in East Village -- had its grand opening to the tune of L.A.'s Madi Diaz and locals Swim Team on March 7, and SoundDiego host Daye Salani was there to chat up Diaz and to get the man behind the Quartyard music, Alex Collins, to dish on what's to come."
- Sound Diego
"The first project of RAD LAB, a design and development company, Quartyard is an urban park at 1102 Market St. in the East Village. It was created with the San Diegan in mind, boasting a coffee shop, dog park, food trucks, free wifi, open spaces and a beer garden available from 11 a.m. onward every day. This past weekend marked the grand opening of the space, which CEO Philip Auchettl says went phenomenally and gave folks a glimpse into the role Quartyard will play in residents’ day-to-day lives."
- Alex Zaragoza
"Abandoned spaces have become the preferred blank canvas for many urban designers, from San Francisco to Brooklyn to London to Detroit. And soon, San Diego will have its own vibrant community space in what is now a grease-stained parking lot edged with patchy grass and an empty historic building in the East Village district downtown."
- Sarah Amandolare
"Or at least the Meshuggah Shack, which is built into an, uh, shipping container, is up and running, right here on Park Boulevard, just up from the Park and Market trolley station in East Village. They’re selling every coffee you could imagine, plus teas, pastries, the usual deal. But where it’s at is not the usual deal. Railroad ties keep the dirt floor level, casual tables and umbrellas give you plenty of space to hang out."
- Ed Bedford
"The urban park comes to us by way of Rad Lab’s Philip Auchettl, David Loewenstein, Jason Grauten (a trio of NewSchool of Architecture + Design alum) and contractor Adam Jubela. The project started two years ago as the master’s candidates’ senior thesis. The then-grad students saw this vacant lot across from the school that wasn’t being put to use and had the idea to transform it into a communal space that could be put together and broken down relatively easily. The answer was in shipping containers."
- Hannah Lott-Schwartz
"A once-vacant Downtown lot is being turned into a temporary urban park where residents and visitors alike can play, bring their pets, listen to live musical performances and otherwise enjoy the trappings of Downtown life."
- SD Metro Magazine
"In less than two years, in a city that is known far more for conservative rigidity than progressive experimentation, Quartyard went from thesis concept to cutting edge success. In the same two years, those visionary grad students, David Loewenstein, Adam Jubela, Jason Grauten and Philip Auchetti, launched a research, architecture and development laboratory conveniently named RAD Lab. (I’m quite certain we’ll be seeing a lot more of the RAD Lab boys and their transformative urban projects for many years to come.)"
"The folks over at RAD LAB, whose ambitious Quartyard project is ramping up in the East Village, sent over a photo of the first tenant set to open for business on their 30,000-square-foot urban lot."
- Candice Woo
Selling Conservative San Diego on Experimental Land Uses
“They [RAD Lab} had this seemingly crazy idea that you could build a temporary development project out of containers. Everyone assumed that that was not possible. And they're doing it."
- Bill Fulton
"In June, a “pocket park” opened in the formerly vacant lot next to The Mission on 13th and J St, pooling suggestions from residents as to what they’d like to see the space used for. Partnering with RAD Lab, the Downtown San Diego Partnership and local real estate company HP Investors completed the dog friendly urban park with repurposed wooden pallets and trees for shade."
- Nate Martins
This new urban park brings food, drink, event space and more.
“RAD Lab an urban planning group aiming to develop underused or vacant lots into outdoor gathering places for local communities, has broken ground on its first project, the East Village’s Quartyard.”
- Candice Woo
Shipping Container Park Starts
“Parking is always a quick fix solution. I definitely don’t think that’s the end of it. I think there are a lot more ways to activate a space rather than turning it into a parking lot. You can generate more income and create a safer more exciting environment.”
- Philip Auchettl
Quartyard: A RAD Infill Plan for East Village
“Right now, it’s brave and fairly rare for so much interest and energy to be poured into an East Village block. But the master’s students enthusiasm is infectious. And their rolde in finding a real life solution deserves an A grade.”
- Ron Donoho
Converting Vacant Lot in Downtown San Diego into an Urban Park
“An empty parking lot doesnt have to be an empty parking lot forever. It can be transformed into something amazing. And it doesn’t take that much money, it doesn’t take a lot of time, it just takes people who are willing to participate and really want to make a difference.”
- David Loewenstein – C.O.O RAD LAB
‘Quartyard’: Grad students’ rad idea for vacant lots
“We think this can act as a model not just for places across San Diego and California potentially but also across the whole United States.”
- Philip Auchettl – C.E.O RAD Lab
Canter CEO kicks in last funding for East Village student project
“We decided to invest for two reasons… One being we really liked their concept of a reusable infill project in an open space and that the design could replicated in other parts. Second, we really wanted to support this group of students and see their thesis project come to life.”
- Andrew Canter – C.E.O Canter Companies
10 Big Ideas for San Diego in 2014
“San Diego is primed right now for a public intervention. We’ve seen a trend lately where architects, designers, urbanists, and community activists are pushing the city to adapt new policies that allow for experimentation.”
- David Loewenstein – C.O.O RAD LAB
“The plan is to build the pop-up marketplace with large storage and shipping containers on the city-owned block. The containers would need to be converted to meet local building code requirements and seismic regulations. They would be manufactured offsite and then installed at the city lot, across from the NewSchool of Architecture & Design.”
“The Kickstarter campaign has been an exciting step towards making our project a reality. Not only have we been able to raise the funding required to move forward, but the amount of community support we received during the process has been truly overwhelming.”
- Philip Auchettl – C.E.O RAD LAB
“The designers hope to make the area attractive for office tenants as well as the coming influx of residents. “There are a lot of empty lots of land with tons of potential for development, and development in the right way. With all these apartments going up, we want to create this organism that’s alive, at all times of the day.”
- Jason Grauten – C.C.O RAD LAB
RAD LAB’S KICKSTARTER WILL GIVE YOU AN URBAN PARK (AND DOG PARK) DOWNTOWN. Considering it has raised nearly $52,000 over the past month, it’s clear: San Diego wants an urban park downtown, right away, and the people are willing to put their money toward being an indispensable part of making that happen.
Students at NewSchool of Architecture & Design who are trying to transform a vacant city lot into temporary working spaces opened a Kickstarter campaign on Friday to continue their efforts.
“The project is very realistic. Graham said, “This is better rather than have a city property just dormant and fallow. This can become a point of attraction and example for the East Village and one that could be replicated in other parts of San Diego.”
- Jeff Graham – President of CIVIC San Diego
“What moves me even more is their initiative to take action in their communities. The use of a vacant lot to create a communal gathering space around great food and architecture will be awesome! I will always listen to ideas, it’s what creates positive change in the world and I appreciate their efforts.”
- Mayor of San Diego