To: The architect who designed the Green Line Aviation Station
From: Me, someone who actually uses the damn thing
Dear Brilliant Architect-
Hi. My name is Adam Rakunas, and I rely on public transit to get to and from work. One of the legs of my commute is a short hop down the Green Line that starts at the station at Aviation and Imperial. You might know this one, because you designed it. You might not know me, but I feel a certain bond with you, because you obviously hate me and everyone else who uses your structure.
It’s the roof that really chaps my ass. You know, the overhang at the very top of the station, the thing that’s above everyone as they stand on the platform waiting for the train. I know it’s called a shelter, but it does anything but. It is a poorly designed piece of crap, and I’m calling you out for it.
What’s wrong? It’s the tubular struts you used. I know they were probably cheap, and your brief was probably to use cheapish, pre-fab materials. That’s cool. I respect that. You were working within constraints, and you thought you were doing the best you could. There’s just one problem with this idea: it’s bollocks.
Let’s talk about water for a second. It has some very cool properties. It likes to stick to itself. It likes to run downhill. It will hang from the underside of things, which is a cool effect if you’re making fountains for the lobbies of expensive hotels and restaurants. It is not, however, something to ignore when designing something that’s supposed to keep people from getting wet.
The struts are angled into the center of the structure, which has the curious effect of dumping water onto the people who are trying to keep out of it. It gathers on the tubes, runs down their underside to the middle of the platform, and then spouts down all over the concrete benches and chair and tables that people like to sit on while waiting for the train. I’m not sure what kind of effect you were shooting for, but let me be the first to tell you that you’ve certainly got a hell of a design for an outdoor shower. It blows lobster goats in the dryness department, though.
Another interesting part is that the water gathers on the ends of the struts and dumps down on the train itself. I’m sure the MTA didn’t want water spattering on the electrical system on the train’s roof, so you chose an interesting compromise: dumping water on the passengers who board and disembark. I can see how that works, since the MTA hates us passengers as much, if not more, than you do.
Now, I know I’m just a guy who takes public transit and not a genius architect. I don’t know anything about powerful lines or bold statements, and I couldn’t tell Bauhaus from Ikea. I do, however, know that stuff that works on paper usually has some problems when it’s brought into the real world. That’s why people build models and test them. I know it’s a radical concept, but it’s certainly worth the effort. So, next time you have a Brilliant Design for a train station, I suggest that you a) build a model of it, b) spray it with a hose to see what happens, then c) stick that hose up your ass and crank the pressure all the way up. You might find the entire experience enlightening and cleansing.
UPDATE: Two seconds on Google, and I know who to blame: Escudero-Fribourg Architects, who apparently don’t have a web site. I will find you people, and I will make you stand in your station in the rain. Oh, yes, I will.