The Postcard from the Winter Session Advanced Studio: Infrastructural Reserves, taught during 2009 by Anthony Acciavatti, was introduced in Art On Paper 2009.VOL.14. NO1, by Rebecca Sears, Editor of the magazine. The image shown was one of the postcard made by Robert Williams M.ARCH 2011.
FRIEND OF FUTURE POSTCARDS IN I-95 WELCOME CENTERS.
One of my greatest frustrations with architecture is how inaccessible it is to…well, everyone. All too often architecture is something reserved for the backgrounds of car commercials, the occasional feature of a weekend paper, and the interiors of glossy magazines relegated to their own little corner of bookstores. That’s why it’s such a relief to see an exhibition like Friends of the Future. FoF is a the result of an advanced studio at the Rhode Island School of Design taught by Anthony Acciavatti, Infrastructural Reserves: Spreads and Densities along the Northeast Corridor, that investigated the formal and spatial potential of rest stops, intermodal stations, and other infrastructural interventions along I-95. The exhibition will travel to venues located along the Northeast Corridor and distribute 36,000 postcards promoting speculative futures of regional transit systems. It’s this populist aspect of exhibiting that is especially exciting. Starting May 25, the postcards will be available at rest stops, gas stations, welcome centers, and even McDonald’s restaurants across Connecticut - bringing design to people who might just be stopping off to walk the dog, use the bathroom, or buy a McFlurry.
From the Friends of the Future Press Release:
The projects presented serve to foster a discussion about new design strategies that can start to re-organize the expanse of residual spaces throughout the interstate, in order to accommodate a wide variety of programs that can serve a new social and economic future for the I-95 corridor, and consolidate an array of urban edges into a new infrastructural network.
Throughout the winter term, the students cultivated a series of well attuned strategies that envision the introduction of rail within the interstate system. The purpose in doing this is to conceive a diverse body of proposals, which provide an assortment of alternative futures for these contrasting sites that are unique for their exceptional cultural and ecological value.
The exhibition couldn’t have come at a better time, as it coincides with the recent announcement by the Obama administration of a new high speed rail plan for America. The Northeast Corridor and a continuing route that follows almost the entire length of I-95 is a primary focus of the new plan. After the election, there was a lot of discussion about the future of architecture and urbansim as the US welcomed its first urban President. Could we realy be entering a new Golden Age of infrastructure, creating new infrastructure to physically unite the nation as we begin what will surely be a slow economic recovery? The government, President Obama said, “will act—not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.”
Projects like the RISD exhibition can help start the discussion that precedes this “new foundation.” As the average citizen becomes more aware of good design, it becomes possible to see a future where educated voters actually support innovative architecture and massive intermodal transit zones along high-speed rail lines. But that’s not all. We love our cars in America and we love road trips with mix tapes and crossing state lines with the sun setting behind us. As rail lines becomes more prevalent and new stations become necessary, these intermodal zones could potentially change the nature of the road trip by reconsidering what it means to travel by car and, as the projects brief states, reorganize the vast expanse of residual space between our cities. Can we create an ecologically sound, architecturally innovative infrastructure? As much I’d like to use the familiar “yes we can” refrain, the best we can hope for right now is a resounding “maybe.” But at least people are talking. And the next time you stop to grab a double cheeseburger on your way to Myrtle Beach, look for the RISD postcards and send a few to your family.
(via Life Without Buildings)>