August 20, 2009
We leave at 5.30 knowing that traffic will slow us down, yet hoping not too much, in order to make it on time to our 6 o’clock appointment. Valencia (in Venezuela) is a little town of 900,000 people that sits in a valley, and has only one freeway that resembles Allen Parkway more than it does 610. But instead of finding the hellish traffic overwhelming, I discovered a few gems for the drivers’ eyes only. As we reach the highway entrance cars approach from all directions. The left turn we need to make seems impossible, given the abundance of cars coming from ahead. The intersecting vehicles come from the right and the left and seem to think the red light is merely decoration, while honks become the perennial soundtrack of the trip. We swerved through the cluster of cars and made it to the 20 mph traffic on the highway. The highway’s 3 lanes have been converted into 5 since here we use the shoulders as the other fast lanes.
Catherine Opie is a portraitist who also photographs landscapes, cityscapes and contemporary still lives. Her portraits play into the role of social commentary, very edgy and maybe even controversial. So, her “Freeeways” series sticks out as a completely different line of work. The fact is though, that her photographs of freeways are also a sorts of social commentray on the realities of todays’ city landscapes. Read the rest of this entry »
August 1, 2009
For the past few weeks we’ve been doing a lot of design and a little less researching as before. But, we’ve gotten some useful tips on successful public spaces happening under the highways. So from Seattle to Shanghai, here they are: Read the rest of this entry »
July 11, 2009
J.G. Ballard’s Concrete Island is the story of architect Robert Maitland, whose car accident in April of 1973 leaves him stranded and confined to the forgotten land under the spur of the M4 motorway in London.
Maitland, the hero of the story, ends up stranded in an ‘island’ defined by the concrete structure of the highways that surround it and the deafening roar of the cars. No-one sees him as they drive by and, as he remarks more than once, no will ever think of looking for him there.
The ‘island’ – and extension of his car and of himself- is nothing but the wasteland of urban living. The space is constricted and airless, left to overgrowth, trash and a seemingly abandoned outbuilding where Proctor and Jane (a brain damaged acrobat and a social outcast) live forgotten and isolated from and by society.
June 28, 2009
Square footage comparison: Interchange vs. shopping strip
Having visited the interchange a few times already, we’ve made a number of observations. One of the most important (and recurring) one is the shear size of the space. Read the rest of this entry »
June 28, 2009
Here is some xkcd highway humor. As you can see, we are at the mercy of highway engineers. Treat them well!
June 24, 2009
This parking garage in Stuttgart, Germany is across the street from the recently completed Mercedes-Benz museum. The three story parking garage is a perfect example of the integration of highway residual space and meeting the needs of the surrounding city. Read the rest of this entry »
June 24, 2009
The Northwest Transit Center sits on the north west corner of the interchange. Fourteen routes pass through the transit center, from 4a.m. to 12.30p.m., going from the Sam Houston Tollway all the way to Downtown and the Magnolia Transit Center. As well as several shorter routes taking passengers through Memorial and the Galleria. Also, as noted before, Metro’s 2012 plan proposes a light rail line stop at the Northwest TC, connecting the site to the greater network of rail lines.