By Brianna Corcino
Parking lots are often overlooked within a city as they are used only as a stop along the way to a destination. The bland lots often deteriorate and become less bearable to look at with cracked pavement, litter piled up around trash cans and a battered and run down operating booth. With all of this in mind, the curatorial team for FINDING TIME ColumbusPublicArt2012 unveiled an approach to brighten up these distressed lots and transform them into an everyday work of art that the community can draw inspiration from. The plan was to redesign these dejected little operating booths into a work of art that would help engage the community with the land. This project became known as Bold Booths.
Starting out, the booths were designed to be temporary, much like the buildings constructed at the World’s Fair. Further into the process, the booths designs eventually evolved into permanent structures. Each project is independent from one another and is limited to site, function and economic constraints to acquire a “transformative urban experience” (About the Projects).
Aside from the 60,000 grants and funding provided by the FINDING TIME program, the primary support for this project comes from an Engagement/Impact Grant that is provided by The Ohio State University Office of Outreach and Engagement. These grants are awarded to support, “innovative and scholarly outreach and engagement programs that leverage the academic excellence of The Ohio State University with community partners” (About the Projects).
The first booth to be installed is designed by Blostein/Overly Architects and will be station at The Westin – Great Southern Hotel parking lot. The design is named “Coney Island” and was design after the conic shapes that are portrayed inside the theater. The booth was designed to strategically use these conic shapes to function as a strategic light source with views, a rainwater diversion and storage (About the Projects). All of these elements work together and shape into a “visually stimulating street theater” for the hundreds of thousands guests that stay annually (About the Projects).
Partnering with the program is Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District. Members were excited to be part of such a new experience with the unique perspectives from the university involvement.
Amongst the Coney Island Bold booth, five other bold booth projects that exist or will exist through the downtown area including: Faired by BAWorkshop, Microtower by Jonathon Barnes Architecture and Design, Parklot by DesignGroup, The Non-Booth by Neal Clements and Slug also by Blostein/Overly Architects.
Just recently “Coney Island” the very first installation of the Bold Booths project won an American Institute of Architects (AIA) Columbus Merit Award and was featured in CityLab (Blostein and Overly’). A juror of the AIA commented on the piece, “A truly unique solution to a very pedestrian challenge. Very well-crafted” (Blostein and Overly’). Blostein tells the CityLab, “The intention of the project is to find high levels of design and thought in what are sometimes overlooked, mundane places in the city… The lowly surface parking lot is such a place for investigation.”
Though this is just a small step in revitalizing downtown Columbus, it was an important step towards a better community. These pieces may be small but they could impact a larger change within the city.
To learn more about the Bold Booths operation visit their website:http://www.boldbooths.org/
“Blostein and Overly’s “Coney Island” Wins AIA Columbus Award and Featured in CityLab.” Blostein and Overly’s “Coney Island” Wins AIA Columbus Award and Featured in CityLab. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2015
“About the Projects.” BOLD BOOTHS. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2015.