Wordless Wednesday: LA’s Slow Reclamation of its Most Prized Urban Natural Resource

Kayakers navigating the LA River in its entirety:

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Wordless Wednesday: Gentle Giant Pylons

I believe most everyone has seen these beauties:

A Wireless Communication Tower with a Douglas Fir Tree Facade

These make what most people want (reliable wireless connectivity) possible without the gross exterior of what most don’t want to admit is required (white and red pillars to our relatively newfound appendages).

But what if we used this cloaking technique creatively with other eyesore above-ground infrastructure needs?

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Wordless Wednesday: What if Public Transit Was Beautiful?

Komsomolskaya Station in the Moscow Metro

“If we made public transit infrastructure beautiful like this, [do you] think more people would use it?”

This is what the Sustainable Cities Collective asked their Facebook fanpage a couple weeks ago on Sept. 7th, 2012, and now I am passing that question on to you.

What’s your reply?

Do you see any beggars? Any terrible musicians vying for spare change? Anybody walking without purpose whatsoever? No. Because this place is too beautiful for that. Everyone has it inside them to appreciate architecture- even in the most passing of ways.

Classic trains are gorgeously irreplaceable.

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Wordless Wednesday: Everyday Eyesore Made Beautiful

Marcel Breuer – East fire stair at the UNESCO Secretariat, Paris 1953.

Fire escapes are typically such eyesores…

What other usual-eyesores could be made beautiful and intriguing in the urban landscape without much added cost or space to improve them?

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Wordless Wednesday: More Street Art!!

[Telescopes from satellite TV dishes on an apartment building in Birmingham, England. Click for larger version!]

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Wordless Wednesday: A Very Wordy Public Art Rant

Public art is usually something like this:

It’s an abstract sculpture, usually a low-maintenance metal like galvanized steel, and just plopped somewhere green like this marina or the center of a traffic circle. But does anyone know where this is? Does this have anything that says, “X Location,” screaming out at you? Is it in North America? Is it in Europe? Is it from a place that identifies itself with Western culture, or Eastern? How do you know? Could it possibly be a concept rendered in an advanced 3D program? Smooth metal is, after all, one of the easiest things to render… This piece is so impersonal, it isn’t memorable at all. Vancouver, BC, you have done so many rights, but this just feels weak.

Why isn’t more civic-purchased public art be specific to their community? Is it just a ‘safer’ investment to simply purchase non-specific works? Who would be mad over purchasing or commissioning something more personal to the municipality they reside in?

This is one of the wind sculptures in my hometown of Stevenson, Washington. Stevenson is in the National Scenic Area of the Columbia Gorge. This edges on my point of making public art more personal to the municipality which it resides in, but still doesn’t hit it spot on- it is, after all, still a bunch of abstract shapes pieced together cast in mostly steel. The only difference here is that all of the pieces move with the wind. Stevenson is in the heart of the Wind Surfing Capital of the World, aside from a few places in New Zealand, and we get constant winds- not gusts- of 30mph many days of the year. Note that while this sculpture has been there long enough for the large circular rusty piece near the bottom, hooligans have never sought out to break the delicate multi-colored glass pieces highlighting each branch. It’s slightly more memorable than the piece above because it has multiple coors and it actually moves constantly.

Any guesses on where this piece is? Who bought it? Why?

This is in Parc de Chaudfontaine, Belgium, a city park. This was created by Mehmet Ali Uysal for the city. It makes someone think from another angle of man’s domination over the Earth, no? Does it scream Belgium? Probably not to Americans, or anybody who hasn’t been there. It’s very unique and memorable, however, and because it’s in Belgium it hasn’t been graffitied whatsoever.

I bet that’s a pain to mow.

So, what would your city’s unique public art piece look like? Would it be a sculpture, painting, or a secret viewpoint of a bridge that only then revealed its true genius? Let myself and everyone else know in the comments below!

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Wordless Wednesday: A Whole New Level of Green

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