Thursday, June 12, 2008

send in the decoys.

Image: A German bus station, by Stacey G..

I came across a delighting article a few days ago in the Telegraph how German senior citizen homes are using decoy bus stations to head off wandering alzheimer's patients, before they get too far away. Not being able to come up with the image of a German bus stop in my head, out of curiosity, I asked the internet to find one for me, and one of the first good images I found was of a Peter Eisenman designed bus station in Aachen, Germany (below). "But of course this is not the type of bus stop branded into the brains of these seniors with alzheimer's!" I immediately told myself. Erect a bus station like this in front of the senior home and you might find the wandering patients gazing at it with confusion, but you certainly wouldn't find them waiting for a bus that will never come, even with one of the signature yellow and green transit signs posted next to it.

Image: Aachen Bus Shelter, by "perpetually dishevelled".

This makes me wonder of the culture that would be produced by a people who have everyday architectural iconography like this, associated with 'getting home'. What would real architectural icons, such as the Eiffel Tower or The Empire State Building, end up looking like with such design making up familiar and utilitarian infrastructure. Maybe rebellious architects would have to draw up elaborate theses of organic structures designing themselves like cancer or this cultures version of Archigram would look behind them with fantastic visual theories rooted in the past, something resembling the native American teepee or possibly a south American monolith... quite possibly, radical designers of this other dimensional culture would design bus stops to look like those in the first and last pictures of this post.

Image: German Bus Stop, by "Casper Kongstein".

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