Monday, May 23, 2011

When Bad Design Is Just Plain Bad

It's all about freeway capping these days, and often with good intent. Local examples include the proposal to stitch Santa Monica's torn urban fabric around the 10 freeway with a public park, or turning that same freeway into a power plant. But the iconic Pacific Coast Highway (aka PCH) is one of a kind. Curbed LA reports that USC architecture students were asked to "dream up cap ideas for the PCH." The result? A nighmarish vision of dogma meets technocracy. Makes the WWII beach bunkers of Normandy look quaint.
image via Curbed LA

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One might argue that capping the PCH increase pollution and threats the beach ecosystem. In order to uncover the truth, we need to further investigate the current condition of the site. These investigations would clear the image of PCH capping.
PCH goes through different urban and environmental condition. One part of PCH that is situated in medium density, city of Santa Monica, for example from Arizona Ave to Santa Monica Blvd, are enclosed by 6 story houses and palisade. This part of the PCH blocks the view of the beach and the sunlight; consequently, changed the beach ecosystem.
PCH divides the neighborhood over the palisade from the beach. In order to travel from Ocean Ave. to the beach, pedestrian are forced to cross the bleak, noisy, windswept 6-lane PCH highway; then go around 6 story houses.
An undeniable problem is that capping a park is extremely expensive. For example, the beautiful project in Dallas, Woodall Rodgers Park, could reach $80 million!
OBA is program to have park, housing, parking, and a public plaza. The narrow park at the top is extended and changes noisy, windswept space above the PCH to a green space. This approach forms a sustainable project. The revenue from housing fully or partially pays for development; secondly, housing changes the feeling of passing over a freeway, consequently linking the divided part of the city. In contrast to adjacent projects, next to the beach there is a public plaza rather than housing that promotes communal beach services. By raising the building, drivers in PCH would experience viewing the activity in public plaza and the grant view, the beach, not the blocks of buildings.