Thursday, January 15, 2009

Out There | Skyway

When we started Shelter, we had bold ideas of being developers until we realized we weren't very good at it. Our friends at CityDeskStudio had a similar notion, but took it a step further than us. They bought the ubiquitous vacated skyway that used to sit just outside of stadium village. What's remarkable to me is the quantity and vivacity of uses they are proposing from a cabin on Lake Superior to a cafe hovering over Lake Calhoun.
And it occured to me, after seeing a rendering of it soaring way up above Dunwoody Avenue, that it really doesn't matter if this thing materializes in any form or not. It already communicates a commitment to assertive, collaborative design that isn't driven by heroic, singular aesthetics but by iterative problem solving. That kind of assertion will surely materialize itself, but in ways immeasurable and wholly unpredictable. It reminds me of the seeds of the Clean Hub, the moment when we stopped waiting for the phone to ring, stopped manning booths at home shows, and started actually trying to solve real problems. And it's been our most effective form of marketing yet.

4 comments:

Tom said...

Your premise appears to be architects can engage in any type of design as long as it's good marketing that's all that matters. I disagree so strongly that I don't even know where to begin. Very sad indeed, very sad.

John Gavin Dwyer, AIA said...

Hmmm... Perhaps I didn't make my point clearly. The point I was making was quite the opposite, that if we engage in design that works toward solutions to real problems, not just an aesthetic exercise, then it will realize itself. My point about marketing was simply that the best way to articulate our value as designers is to design, not to advertise.

Tom said...

I can see where you're going, but architects seam to spend too much time working in their own heads and fail to really connect to society through built work. I'm not saying that working on theoretical work is bad, but if it doesn't connect beyond media hype does it have any real value in the end?

John Gavin Dwyer, AIA said...

Now there's a great question. I can't say I have an absolute answer because I feel some unbuilt work certainly has great value. Conversely, some built work I feel is driven almost entirely by marketing.