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Ashley Heeren

Public Space – Public Transit – Public Art

Posted by on 3/20/13 at 07:14am

Can a bus shelter setting become an engaging public place beyond the purpose of waiting for the bus?

UT San Antonio School of Architecture is hosting a 3-day charrette this week posing this question and taking the new Tobin Center for the Performing Arts as the site. Six teams of 2-3 UTSA graduate students will each be paired with a young professional mentor (from Lake|Flato and other local firms) to meet and work over the next three days. The goal of the charrette is to explore elements or programs that can be conceived of as integral parts of place-making through the lens of a bus patron or other people who encounter this setting. It is less about designing the bus shelter (a goal of the full semester studio) and more about proposing a relationship for the elements of this new place–streetscapes, landscapes, public art, way-finding, and others. This Friday’s presentation of team slideshows and boards and the reception following are public and hopefully will engage the community even beyond those directly involved.

This is one piece of a larger project happening this semester at UTSA that is focused on the engagement of public space, public transit, and public art in San Antonio. From the UTSA Architecture website:

“In the summer of 2012, the UTSA College of Architecture, in partnership with the City of San Antonio’s Department of Culture and Creative Development and VIA Metropolitan Transit, was selected to receive an “Our Town” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to lead community engagement events focused on the integration of public art and public transit around the new Tobin Center.

This NEA grant-funded project, titled Public Space, Public Transit, Public Art, will engage the San Antonio community in a series of public discussions. This series of events — which runs from January through May — is designed to give shape to the discussion and exploration of examples and ideas that relate to the present opportunity for public engagement in our city.”

Assistant professor Antonio Petrov is leading one graduate studio and one seminar focused on this work; they have produced one exhibition and will produce one more focused on design work. You can read more about the program here.