Heat in the Street

Client: City of Northville Downtown Development Authority and Up2Go International

Location: Downtown Northville Social District, Michigan

Project Scope: Develop a modular structure flexible for food vendors, outdoor dining and other seasonal community activities



The City of Northville, MI has taken a very progressive stance with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic this year. Northville has always had some amount of summer outdoor dining on the sidewalks and street parking lanes. With the state’s restrictions on indoor dining, Northville took a larger step to protect its restaurants by closing two blocks of downtown Northville’s main streets in the business district to allow for larger areas for outdoor dining. Later in the year when Michigan enacted a law legalizing social districts, Northville promptly created a social district within these two blocks. Social districts allow the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages outside of an establishment’s property within the social district limits.


…and then came winter


The City of Northville has decided to extend outdoor dining by embracing winter and creating their own winter festival. As the number of COVID cases ebbed and flowed over the summer and fall, the realization came that outdoor dining would soon end with the entrance of the winter season. Until Manfred Schon, a Northville resident and German citizen, recalled Winter festivals in his native Germany, Northville along with most other areas would soon see traffic drop with the rise of cases and prohibited indoor dining. 


The Challenge


The winter festivals in Europe enliven the streets with winter food and market specialties. Mr. Schon and the Northville DDE sought to create shelters for dining within the district and also for food purveyors from Northville to sell their specialties. O|X Studio was honored to be asked to create these shelters. The challenge was:

  • Create two shelter types
    • Food Service Pod
    • Social Pod with dining tables
  • Pods must be transportable
  • Pods to include lighting and heating
  • Pods able to be attached together in groupings
  • Assure accessibility
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