Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In Plain Sight | Holidazzle

Each year, the holiday season brings a certain amount of expected repetition. Winter decorations will appear in stores around the 4th of July, someone will pick a fight about the politically-correct way to greet a stranger, and a “door buster” deal will actually result in busted doors-—or worse.

However, the holiday season also creates unexpected patterns of human behavior in the built environment. For example, each winter since 1992, thousands of spectators have braved the inhospitable Minnesota weather to watch the Holidazzle Parade make its way up Nicollet Mall. On a hectic street typically populated with over-stressed professionals attempting to cram an hour's worth of errands into a 15 minute lunch break, it is refreshing to see families 1) outside, 2) not running to go somewhere inside, and 3) smiling.

This attitude adjustment isn't limited to the street level, either. Typically, the skyways seem to host an unannounced human NASCAR race through their halls. If one would like to avoid injury, it's best to adhere to the strict (but unspoken) expectations for minimum speed, passing protocol, merging etiquette, and pit-stops. On evenings of the Holidazzle, however, the skyways transform from freeways into luxury suites for the theater happening on the streets down below. Sure a walking aisle is roped off in the center of each skyway crossing Nicollet Avenue, but against the windows families can be found camping out for hours ahead of time to reserve their prime (and heated) seats for the parade.

The Holidazzle Parade completed its 18th consecutive year with Sunday evening's performance, but even if it just runs for 4 evenings a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it's refreshing to see these utilitarian spaces serving the public in delightful ways.

From all of us at Threshold, we hope you've enjoyed reading and we will continue expanding our reach into the new year.

Happy (politically-correct) Holidays!


Anonymous said...

That top photo is amazing. Where is it?

Brandon Stengel, Associate AIA, LEED AP said...

Thanks! I shot that in the skyway connecting City Center and Gaviidae Common. The skyway between Macy's and IDS Center was too full to even get a decent shot!