Reader Letters | July 1, 2010

HASTINGS WAY RECONSTRUCTION: A PRETTY STREET IS NOT ENOUGH
My intuition is that it is going to be a push to get the boys at SEH Inc. [the company handling the Hastings Way redesign and reconstruction] to do any big ideas that help define Hastings Way as a gateway to two cities. We need the discussion to get away from generalities and start discussion on built form that defines particulars of this place (i.e. share opinions/ideas on grading, planting, materials, spaces, furnishings that happen here and not “anywhere USA”).

    Imagine coming through here and seeing something that is instantly unique enough that a person could give another person directions based on their seeing that something. Imagine that something being dynamic enough to be interesting in all seasons, interesting enough that people living here could experience it and not grow tired of it. Hastings Way needs that.

    The normative approach for Engineers and Architects is “beautiful roads or things” and not places. Generally speaking, these two fields of practice are not getting trained to make site-specific interventions relative to ecology, art, landscape, or place. All related fields have a lot they can work on, but an overly technocratic approach is what almost always dominates.

    Can a landscape also be a connective poem? I say this road landscape can reveal the thickness of site (history, ecology) and have a carpet of program (culture). The bottom line is, whatever gets built, there should [be] an end [result] of giving identity for this particular area. No generics!

– Joe Maurer, Eau Claire

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