212301013_aed5c02949 Read the rest of this entry »

Walkability

June 23, 2009

Walkability MapWalkscore.com ranks cities and neighborhoods on their walkability.  Here is a snapshot of our sites current levels of walkability- which is about average for Houston.

Jumping K-Rails

June 22, 2009

THOUGHTS ON OUR FIRST SITE VISIT

Existing Conditions

Once, when I was about 13 or 14, we had some massive flooding out in Humble. Highway 59 was totally under water starting just north of FM 1960 going almost all the way to Kingwood. We lived in a neighborhood right off of the highway and I remember wading out to the freeway with my cousin. We just sat there in the middle of this concrete speedway.  It was quite the experience. Remembering walking along the deserted highway always brings to my mind Stephen Vincent Benet’s short story, By The Waters of Babylon.  There was something powerful about being there, in that space, totally unprotected, small, and vulnerable. Maybe that is where this whole obsession started.

We made our first “official” site visit to our site on an early Sunday morning.  After consuming unhealthy amounts of caffeine, and recovering from the shock of finding other people actually awake at 7am on a Sunday, we made our way to the empty Northwest Transit Center Park and Ride. Read the rest of this entry »

The 610 West and I-10 interchange is the second busiest bottleneck in the nation, with 295,000 vehicles per day and 25,181 annual hours of delay. It is only second to LA’s Us-101 at I-405 with 318,000 vehicles per day and 27,144 annual hours of delay.
Here are the other 8 bottlenecks featured in the top ten of Worst Bottlenecks in the Nation:

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Source: American Highway Users Alliance

Sound Barrier

June 21, 2009

Hessing Luxury Car Showroom

This luxury car showroom, designed by Dutch firm Kas Oosterhuils/ONL, sits along the A2 Highway in Ulrecht.  The showroom was designed to fit into a thickened part of the highway sound barrier.

Land Bridge

June 21, 2009

Land Bridge Vancouver, Washington

A pedestrian bridge, crossing the highway near Fort Vancouver and the Columbia River provides a safe crossing, integrated with art and local history.  Part of the Confluence Project, and designed by architect/artist Maya Lin, the Land Bridge crosses over Highway 14 and railroad tracks, linking together two important historic sites. Along the bridge are places to sit and small kiosks illustrating various aspects of local Native American history.

Rock the Casbah

June 11, 2009

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When it comes to the future of cities, it is often easiest to look to Le Corbusier. In the case of the future of Algiers it appears Corbu thought of it too. After his visit in 1931 he took it upon himself to design a plan for a future Algiers, an Algiers that was to become the center of Africa, a world capital just like Barcelona and Paris. He called it Plan Obus. Read the rest of this entry »

Highway Tiles

June 11, 2009

Artist Jim Termeer has taken satellite images of highway interchanges from around the world and made them into tile designs. In the site they describe highway interchanges as having “…complex beauty equal to the buildings and public sites usually remembered with souvenirs…”

Clearly he is really cool!

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Read the rest of this entry »

After a bit of research, I found out some exciting news about the Northwest Transit Center which is located on the north side of the 610 loop and I-10 intersection that happens to be our site.

Yesterday we talked about the importance of the transit center because of its location and the fact that it is a major point of exchange of people from all around the city. Well it just got even more important. It turns out that this center is the last stop on the new Uptown Metro line. This of course means that people from Memorial park, the Galleria, Westheimer, Richmond and more will be able to walk a couple of blocks and ride to our site with relative ease. The amount of people that will be able to visit our proposal increases dramatically with this vital connection.

The uptown rail is part of the new building program that Metro just started and is set for completion in 2012. If we look a little more ahead, Metro will eventually build the University line which will connect all of the light rail lines creating a network that will allow mobility to and from most of Houston’s major urban centers.

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IMAGE: Houston Metro’s light rail lines 2012

OffCite.org

Inevitable Dross

June 8, 2009

Cities produce waste, not unlike living organisms. Alan Berger advices us to accept the residual space that comes as a direct consequence of urban living, and embrace it as a possibility for innovative design.

“To expect a planned city to function without waste (such as in a cradle to cradle approach), which represents the in situ or exported excess not only in its growth but of its maintenance, is as a naïve as expecting an animal to thrive in a sensory deprivation tank. The challenge for designers is thus not to achieve drossless urbanization, but to integrate inevitable dross into more flexible aesthetic and design strategies.”


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PHOTO: Interchange Construction at Interstate Highways 610/10, Houston, TX

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