bus shelter (proposal), bloomington, indiana

The only givens from the previous e-mails and e-chats and e-sturbations are the presence of a limestone wall 10’ tall, 40’ long, and about 2.5’ wide parallel to the bus when it pulls to a stop, and a steel canopy of some sort (maybe tensegrity based) over the space between the limestone bus and the actual bus.

Yesterday we selected big blocks of limestone at the Indiana Limestone Co. staging yard (as big as five football fields at least, long rows of huge blocks stacked two high, blocks as in 4’ x 4’ x 10’). Each block has bar code plus number painted on, so we took digital pics of the blocks and bar codes we want. We want those with surface depth on raw sides (“rough backs”) straight from the quarry, or interesting markings, or coloring. In essence, each big block will be cut simply, into cubes approximately 2’ on each side. On some of the blocks, the raw face(s) will be partially sliced off, ‘finishing’ them by leaving partially original. We’ll use the cheapest, lowest grade of limestone and make it beautiful. [Wes Janz to 26262625 collaborators Adam Janusz, Devin McConkey and Jerome Daksiewicz.]

26262625 is comprised of four founders (who met in Indiana in 1995), other young architects, fabricators and builders based in Indiana, interesting clients, and a network of persons scattered throughout the world. We work together and with others because we cannot keep ourselves from coming together to ask questions as we engage the world and the people around us.

We share four basic curiosities. Our three projects used steel, wood, or limestone engaged as close to the actual source as possible, the intention being to best understand the material as we strive to transform the most mundane into the most beautiful. Steel is bought from wholesale direct from mills, wood is cut right from the forest, rough back limestone is pulled from staging yards at quarries. We work alongside the workers–metal bender and welder, rough wood framer and finish carpenter, or limestone quarrier and carver–to create both pleasing and challenging artifacts. The Bar is a good example: standard 4’ x 10’ sheets of 10-gauge sheet steel were bent, cut, and welded by fabricators and design net members to create the installation’s churning, tumbling form.

Two, we move between curiosities about the world and questions about our locales, especially as regards Indiana. We travel globally on sidewalks, trains, three-wheelers, buses, elephants, airplanes, and the internet, even as we live, work, and act on the streets of Indianapolis, Muncie, and Bloomington. This causes us to use design opportunities and interventions as a means through which to resolve conflicting understandings of what it means to act both responsibly and provocatively, informed by design sensibilities gained by world tours and site visits. The Bus Shelter is to be made of the cheapest form of the most localized of materials–variegated limestone–and is conceived not as a mere bus stop on Highway 3, but as a place on a global constellation of communication, connection, and circuitry.

Three, we have developing interests in the user, the occupant, the citizen, and the living being. We want to meet their needs (and ours) even as we cause the individual to ask questions of his or her world, life, and community. The Arbor is notable here for the hammock/nest it offers the client for her naps and reading, and the way it provides resting places and homes for birds, chipmunks, and squirrels.

Finally, we are interested in the web, digital technology, and digital media. Without such information technology we could not make, we could not work with others, with each other. We view this both as challenge and opportunity, flexing our design processes and thinking to both structure the communication of design ideas even as we are open to fresh insights provided by the alternating currencies of the internet. The Bar was designed as two 26262625 founders traveled, literally, around the world and communicated design ideas and inspirations back to their partners in Indiana.

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