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Perception of Space

I was in the Houston tunnel system recently and in its labyrinthine corridors it reminded me of the narrow corridors of the cities I visited in Europe (mainly Antwerp and Brussels). This brought to an interesting quandary, what made the corridors of the old world so much more aesthetically pleasing than the new. While providing the same service of shopping along these avenues, they eventually open up into larger plazas for mingling and food consumption. It certainly could not be in the inherent newness trumping the old, obsolete, and certainly not ADA-approved pathways in Belgium, so it seems that main problem is the presence of space itself, or I should say the absence of it in Houston. The claustrophobic tunnel system suffocates the imagination with its seven foot ceilings and near constant hum of ventilation and bustling workers. The paths in Europe, even if covered by buildings, there was always a visible light at the end of it, your destination, and there is just a greater sense of freedom knowing you aren’t trapped in a subterranean ant farm controlled by the captains of industry above (though they do provide a near constant supply of chipotle burritos).  In this moment of inspiration I decided to take one of the greatest plazas in Europe, the Piazza Navona and just drop a standard system of acoustic ceiling tiles over it. I found the photos on flickr, so all initial rights would go to them, and I just quickly did some editing in Photoshop. The result is surprisingly similar to what you would find under Houston’s busy streets, just replace the Four Rivers and Neptune fountains with a Chick-fil-a and a Taco Bell, respectively, and you are in business.




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