Yesterday one of our most lovely product representatives said the term “end user” to describe our clients. I’ve never loved the phrase ; it feels cold and aloof to me and doesn’t quite describe the client in all cases.
For instance, in a hospital, the Board of Trustees making the plays are not the nurses and patients who will walk the corridors day in and day out. Such is also the case in any urban planning project, where members of a council may never use the bus shelter or public playground they help shape. True end users are the people who will be affected by our design choices, including one member of the public who recently found great reason to bash a new light rail station entrance in Pittsburgh’s downtown.
And he’s right, in some respects.
The project is far from pretty (and pastel, as the author would like it to be).
In fact, the gray, spindly images from the architecture firm’s website (EDGE studio) are akin to 1st year architecture studio path projects (of which it is hard to find evidence of, for none of us former students use it in portfolios and the project is not part of the curriculum any longer ). Perhaps it’s the half-toned silhouette people, too, that make it less appealing? Or, perhaps it’s the architecture (below).
An excerpt from the letter reads,: This station should never have been built as is, and its existence bespeaks much that is wrong with Downtown planning. It looks much like a mutated millipede. It is plainly ugly. Second, it is made of steel pipes and glass.
Now I ask: Is this city not already sufficiently gray from five months of near-continuous clouds? Are the older buildings not already sufficiently gray from years of industrial soot and grime? Is it wise, then, to build a Downtown of more gray/silver buildings (Gateway Center, Heinz Field and now the Gateway station at Stanwix) to further accentuate these drab and hard, cold, metallic surfaces that already define Pittsburgh? It is time for Pittsburgh to move beyond its industrial, gritty, grungy and grimy past.
So, to those responsible for the current monstrosity on Stanwix, I paraphrase President Reagan in saying, “Mr. Designers: Tear down that station!”
In jest, the architecture firm posted a photograph today (top of page) alluding to the demands of this Letter to the Editor in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Amazingly, this Photoshopped render hits on so many good interventions that looking at renders of the actual design leave me wishing this newly posted render wasn’t a joke!
Green grass next to the station to sit upon while waiting for a train or a friend? Love.
Rainbows. Love. (who needs gray skies?)
Happy people. Love.
Color. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
Actually, the only thing I have a problem with in this faux-render is the cat, because, well, I strongly dislike cats.
I say kudos to this letter writer whose response to architecture stirred enough nerves in a group of designers to spur an image of what could never be, but, which could be, and happily. It’s “conversations” like this that make me happy to be part of firm so engaged with its public and so involved in organizing charrettes and public meetings.
Power to the people!