Monday, December 30, 2013

Criminal Architecture, Volume 1

I'm going to take this up as a regular feature.

Let's begin with this marvel of malevolence at Front & Poplar.  In the second decade of the 21st century in Philadelphia, these are the kinds of buildings unfortunately approved by the 'leaders' of our city, which just so happens to otherwise contain large amounts of the most incredible architecture in North America, and the world.

What's wrong with us these days?

 So much for eyes on the street, eh?  As if the garage doors and monolithic curb cuts weren't horrific enough, I particularly 'love' the prominently-featured utility boxes (not shown, the all-too-common aerial spaghetti bowl of dozens of overhead wires), and the bollards on the pavement protecting same.

Because g-d forbid somebody should somehow manage to miss the 90% of frontage dedicated to drive-right-on-up-and-through-the-pavement infrastructure, and direct their vehicle into one of PECO's meters.  I do suppose those sleek and 'modern' Juliet balconies might perhaps maybe provide a good view of the fireworks resulting from just such a potential incident, however.

 Oh look though, this 'development' might qualify as having GreenSpace(tm!)!

Here's a question, what is the purpose of these 'windows?'

 Interior view.

Yeah, seriously.  These are just random panes of glass stuck into brick on top of inappropriate garage doors breaking up otherwise blank walls looking out from... nothing.

Once again, the safety bollard on the far side of the garage door protecting yet another (!) utility meter is a fantastically amusing feature.  I suppose this one provides fail-safe protection from the precious, physics-defying drunk driver who would somehow manage to miss the massive garage door and roll his or her SUV on into the side wall at one of the most incredible angles in world history.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

What's The Plan? (Updated)

"Fucking score points.  What's your plan?"

I love Chip Kelly.  Ten hours until kickoff, for the NFC East title.  Trash the Cowboys, but please recycle your cups, bottles, cans and paper.  Thanks...

Update: WHOO!!!  Bring on New Orleans.  Wer'e ready, baby!

"A New Organization of Social Space"

Aside from the comically heaping servings of unnecessarily dense, nonsensical Landscape Urbanese word salad contained in this article, it's good to have some hope that we will soon widely begin to make our way out of the dark ages of public benches and other such amenities.
These “more ergonomic” benches allow for “multiple functions, like stretching, playing, and lounging.” These new functions are only made possible through a revolution in design practices, like 3D modeling and fabrication.
Well, not really.  Benches and other such street, park and transportation facility furniture certainly existed in comfortable forms long before the 'design them to be as painful as possible in order so that the homeless can't sleep on them' era.  It's a seat, not rocket science.

I have greatly enjoyed such 'advanced' public furniture when I've come across it, in particular, if I recall, at the beautiful Tanner Springs Park in NW Portland, Oregon, but not everything needs to be so complicated or costly.  For now, I would just be happy to have SEPTA or the city provide (or allow a private entity to provide in return for publicity - advertising on benches, okay;  bus and train wraps, NOT okay) the occasional bench which wasn't, literally, a pain-in-the-ass to sit on for ten minutes while waiting for a bus.