Thursday, September 2, 2010
Leaning Toward Better Visuals, Smarter Growth Amid the Sprawl
It’s always interesting to hear news about forward-looking design concepts, and our eye was caught by this image from Southern California.
No, it’s not really leaning. We’ll have to wait for the next 6.0 on the Richter Scale for that. It kinda looks like it has a few screws loose or missing though. (Now we’re showing a decided lack of sophistication.)
It’s called the “Samitaur Tower,” a 72-foot-high weathered-steel structure designed by Eric Owen Moss, situated alongside a transit line being built as part of the Los Angeles area’s slowly emerging transit system.
Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne likes what he sees, at least in comparison to buildings designed for other locations along mass-transit lines in Southern California, which he terms as “pretty underwhelming architecturally.”
Hawthorne, however, expresses hope for better visuals, remarking that “a few genuinely thought-provoking responses to the region's hard-won progress on the mass-transit front are beginning to emerge.” These include the Samitaur Tower, which will overlook a light-rail line under construction from downtown L.A. to Culver City. For the full review, go here.
The tower’s developers, Frederick and Lauri Samitaur-Smith, plan to build seven more of the structures along the line, Hawthorne reports. The initial tower, to open next year, houses platforms wrapped in screens made of translucent acrylic. The screens will display video and artwork, and the tower is envisioned as a venue for parties, exhibits, and other events.
Hawthorne doesn’t say whether a paint or coating will be needed for protection or decoration. This bureau will have to dig further to find that out. Whatever the case may be, light-rail expansion and associated development will certainly create demand for such materials, one would surmise, including some high-performance types.
In any event, transit systems such as this are the way of the future, say the champions of sustainable development. It’s Smart Growth… smarter than more sprawl and freeways, at least.
Southern California led the nation in proliferation of sprawl and freeways; maybe it can lead the way out.
And besides, as Hawthorne says, there’s a bonus…a “new stage of urbanism in Southern California, which thanks to the slowly growing transit network, among other cultural shifts, is beginning to emerge as a less atomized and more public place than the old clichés would have you believe.”
Yeah… who wants to be atomized, anyway.
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