Alexandra Lange | Essays

Architecture in Transit

An SVA student of mine from last year, Frederico Duarte, alerted me to the New York NOW exhibition, which opened October 7 in the West 4th Street subway station. Designed by Rumors Studio, the exhibit replaces the usual slapped-up future-bomb movie posters with images of work being done by AIA member architects in New York City right now. The work ranges from the Second Avenue Subway to a Malin + Goetz boutique, Nehemiah Spring Creek Housing to the SeaGlass carousel proposed for Battery Park City. Following on the Museum of Modern Art’s installation in the Atlantic/Pacific station last spring, it gives people something worthwhile to look at while waiting for a train, and brings architecture to people who may never go to the AIA NYC’s public gallery (where the debate-friendly show Context/Contrast: New Architecture in Historic Districts now hangs).

My only concern is its placement in the tube-like corridors leading to the A/C platforms. I am too anxious a traveler to linger there (and am usually getting the F). Wouldn’t all these installations do better with the captive audience on the platform? And might they even entice someone off the train, if they were visible through the glass? The MTA Arts for Transit program has been a huge success, but the idea of temporary art, architecture and design in the stations might be an even better one. Like art on the walls of your home, it becomes unseen if you don’t rotate.

Posted in: Architecture

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