Monday, February 3, 2014

How a Little Thing Like the Site Will Completely Influence the Design

By Timothy Shotts

             The further in depth I look into my choice of Leadville, CO as my site, the more parameters I add to the design. I would love to have a bus lane integrated into the design to add another level of service to the facility, but I'm not sure how I'm going to fit such a physically demanding program requirement onto the small site which is only 90' by 110'. Another consideration is that Leadville relies heavily on historic tourism for their economy. Therefore, a transit station of modern materials such as steel and glass will not be allowed for aesthetic reasons and the tube of the transport system will need to be placed underground while in the city to preserve the historical context. There is also a mural on the wall of the building adjacent to the site which, while may not need to be preserved, perhaps should be. This will require my building to be small, one-story, and positioned near the southwestern corner of the site. This is advantageous to allow local busses to pick-up and drop-off in front of the building. The final consideration is how to bring capsules into the station. Will they load and unload on the main level or a lower level? If on the lower level, how will people get down there? Will it be safe? Will it look like a dungeon devoid of natural light or is there a way to bring abundant light to the lower level. After all, the facility needs to be accessible 24 hours a day if I follow the Personal Rapid Transit model. The other option is to bring the capsule up to ground level. If the capsule lowers into the floor after loading, will it look like a coffin being lowered into the ground? What if the capsule traveled up to the main level like a gas pipe check-station in the middle of a farmer's field? What connotations would that have? Will tube transport itself have a negative reception in a town known for mining? Will the residents of Leadville fear a tube collapse as they do a mine shaft collapse?

Leadville, CO mural

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