Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Transit stations as an element of civic architecture/commerce as an engine of urbanism

I have many pieces on this topic as it relates to subway and light rail transit--separate from railroad stations, which have a great history and place in civic architecture--including "Transit, stations, and placemaking" and "Design as a city branding strategy: transit edition."

Caption: Formosa Boulevard, Kaohsiung (Taiwan) – Half kaleidoscope, half metro station, Kaohsiung's Formosa Boulevard features the world's largest glass artwork. CNN photo.

In retrospect, it's somewhat embarrassing that the first piece is so US-centric, because of how artistic-aesthetic qualities are so essential to transit systems such as in Paris, Moscow, and St. Petersburg.

Those systems have multiple examples of stations as "high art" at least for transit, and how attractiveness is an important element within many other subway systems, such as the use of tile and distinctive station design treatments in Hamburg.  Asia has many outstanding examples as well.

The CNN story "World's best Metro stations" shows a fabulous station in Taiwan.

Somehow I missed this even though the New York Times reported on it ("Subterranean Naples, Brimming With Art"), but on a GGW entry, commenter James called attention to the "art stations of Naples." From the article:
Still a work in progress, the “art subway” has commissioned work from about 100 artists so far — most of them Italians, with a good dose of local talent — and an international roster that includes William Kentridge, Katharina Sieverding and Sol LeWitt, to name a few.

“Artists come and present their vision of Naples to help Neapolitans see their city differently,” said Antonella Di Nocera, the city counselor responsible for culture. “In this city, people take history for granted, but we want to teach young people that they are part of a stratified city.”

The subway “draws on the strength of what Naples has to offer,” she said.

Working in various media, the artists have collaborated closely with prominent architects to transform utilitarian places of transit into captivating sites.

“This wasn’t about decorating the architecture, it’s about enhancing the space with the works of artists called on to dialogue with the space,” Mr. Bonito Oliva said. The stations, he added, are “monuments to innovation.”
Snails by "Cracking Art Group" at the Garibaldi station of underground of Naples - Architect Dominique Perrault
Snails by "Cracking Art Group" at the Garibaldi station of underground of Naples - Architect Dominique Perrault. Flickr photo by Karl.

In the Naples program, art and aesthetic elements have been deliberately incorporated as a primary element of the subway system as it has been constructed.  While on the surface Naples is known for grit, occasional sanitation strikes and the like, so far the "art stations" haven't been damaged by graffiti or other mistreatment--note that the transit system has a small staff dedicated to maintaining these stations specifically.

At the end of the entry, I've appended two video news stories showing the stations.  The first one is in English, the second in Italian with subtitles.

2.  At the Columbus Circle station in New York City, the Turnstyle food and shopping hall has been incorporated on the perimeter of one of the walkway exits, adding a retail element ("Noshing at the Columbus Circle Subway Station," New York times, and providing opportunities for independently-owned businesses to operate in an area with otherwise extraordinarily high rents.   It's also another example of the recent explosion of "food halls" as a retail type.
Turnstyle food and shopping hall, Columbus Circle subway station, New York City
Photo by Evan Sung. 

The quote about "commerce as an engine of urbanism" comes from Professor Alex Wall.  the businesses enliven the corridor, provide better services for transit riders, and support entrepreneurial activity, while generating additional revenue for the transit system. 

An almost 50 year old Regional Plan Association study, Urban Design Manhattan, on the pedestrian mobility system in Manhattan suggesting in part the direct incorporation of subterranean space and mezzanine space in buildings into the pedestrian network.  This is an example of how to do it.


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At 10:31 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...


At 8:05 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...


At 5:59 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...


At 8:21 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

art trains in France


3M produces the film applications used in the trains


At 9:34 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

architect and urban design planner for Via Transit system, San Antonio

S.A. Confidential ; Building a better S.A. - starting with the urban core
San Antonio Express-News (TX) - Monday, May 9, 2016

Author: Steve Bennett, Staff Writer
"How can we build a better city?" Christine Viña is thinking out loud during an interview at "the Grand," as VIA staffers refer to the transit service's West Side executive offices in a renovated 1907 train station.

It's the question that Viña wrestles with every day, both as an architect and urban planner for VIA Metropolitan Transit and as 2016 president of the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

A vocal advocate for downtown living, sustainable architecture and historic preservation, Viña says, "We have to educate people about the transportation advantages of living in the inner city. I'd like to get away from the idea of preservation as an elitist opportunity."

At 7:46 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

public pianos at St. Pancras station, pianist gives lessons


When the Victoria line opened in 1969, each station was given a different visual identity using tiled motifs on the platform walls, within its seat recesses.

Brixton Station mosaic, Hans Unger

Tottenham Court Road station mosaics



King Cross Pond Club




Stratford bus station







At 8:08 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...


Railways, Hotels, and Tourism in Great Britain 1839-1914
Jack Simmons
Journal of Contemporary History
Vol. 19, No. 2 (Apr., 1984), pp. 201-222







At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Richard Layman said...

New U-Bahn line in Dusseldorf.


At 2:57 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

mural at a transit station in Montreal,


At 6:19 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Los Angeles stations and public art:


At 1:11 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

for the new Night Tube service announcement, London Underground commissioned special neon signage/public art treatments.


At 4:15 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

wood being incorporated into new Japan Railway stations.


At 1:19 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

McAllen TX transit stop to be transformed into a transit stop-playground.



At 1:30 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Public art bus shelters, San Antonio.


Centro Chroma Tower, Centro Transit Center, San Antonio, featuring light work by Bill FitzGibbons, who lives in SA.


At 11:30 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...


At 7:04 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Monochrome Rose train by Pipilotti Rust


At 7:38 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

London Bridges architectural lighting competition




At 7:20 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

redo of the Le Forum des Halles commuter rail station, Paris, WSJ article "Paris Rising", new canopy, etc.

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

train stations over airports


At 11:40 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

subway platform murals:


Buenos Aires:




Tintin story characters, Brussels:


At 11:09 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

TfL "design manager for the bus system" = Ivan Bennett


At 4:23 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

NYC DOT art program.


At 6:11 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

world's best bus stop in Singapore


At 6:33 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

new BRT route in Gary, IN will incorporate art into bus shelters


At 2:16 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Freeway abutments:

Ecuador, http://www.guayaquilesmidestino.com/es/murales-y-vitrales/murales-del-sur-de-la-ciudad/mural-la-vida-del-manglar

Sinaloa, Mexico, http://pequevrs.blogspot.com/2010/10/murales-en-puentes-para-culiacan-sin.html

Chile, http://www.plataformaurbana.cl/archive/2014/12/30/arte-y-ciudad-mural-mosaico-en-puente-alto-el-mas-grande-de-latinoamerica/

At 10:53 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

cleveland red line rta


At 2:26 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...


cleveland public space improvements as a way to leverage local benefits from holding the Republican National Convention.


At 11:21 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

what toronto commuters are reading on the subway


At 6:52 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...


At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Richard Layman said...

LA Union Station as hub/destination.


At 5:40 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

new public art installations at subway stations in Toronto:


At 8:49 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Transbay Transit Center, bus and rail, supposed to be a civic structure too, not just for transit, with a park on top.

very very expensive


At 12:02 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Philadelphia SEPTA, new screens etc. on buses and at stations.


At 9:39 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

design thinking process, Singapore transit system:


At 11:36 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Sydney repurposes decommissioned wooden escalators at a subway station into a public art piece:


At 7:02 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

6 stations on the Toronto subway extension to Vaughn/York University:



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