Renderings: SOM Architizer is hosting the world’s definitive architectural awards program, with 50+ categories and 200+ jurors. As part of an ongoing series, we’re spotlighting projects that fit the “Plus” categories, which tap into topical and culturally relevant themes. Today, in an effort to show you examples of good candidates for the Plus awards, we present five “Architecture +
This is the seventh in a series of posts that will document Architizer blogger Lindsay Rule aka “Archispotter”as she makes her way across the country without cash or any planned means of transport. Find out more about the Architizer-Audi Urban Future Initiative collaborative project here. See the previous post here.
12 PM. I made it! After two weeks of travel, seven modes of travel, and 4,000 miles, I’m finally in San Francisco! I’m too overjoyed to write, but stay tuned for my concluding post! I’ll have collected myself by then to compose some concluding thoughts and insights into what the heck I’ve been doing the last 14 days.
This is the sixth in a series of posts that will document Architizer blogger Lindsay Rule aka “Archispotter”as she makes her way across the country without cash or any planned means of transport. Find out more about the Architizer-Audi Urban Future Initiative collaborative project here. See the previous post here.
That isn’t hard to do… @ Voodoo Doughnut
10:30 PM. Just got to Portland. First impression? Fun! And lots and lots of bikes. I’ll explore tomorrow, but already I know I can’t stay too long. I have a little over two days till I have to be in San Francisco, and while that may sound like enough time, I’ve learned that a little planning doesn’t hurt. At least when it comes to finding a place to sleep. Continue.
Abe and Buddy @ Deerlodge National Forest – Grassy Point
10 PM. After we left Sturgis we set out in the direction of Oregon, passing through the vastness of Wyoming and Montana–both of which turned out to be quite beautiful. Five hundred miles later, Abe and I pulled into Bozeman (MT) a cranky, tired pair, mostly because we were without a place to stay. My phone battery had died along the way so I was unable to search online for a place to crash. We eventually spotted a roadside hotel, and after much deliberation, the two of us very begrudgingly slapped down $40 each (that makes $65 out of my initial $100 fund) for a skeezy basement room. A bump in the road–excuse the metaphor–for sure, but we decided not to let it dampen our collective adventurous spirit. We went out on the town, and all I can tell you is that I sang karaoke for the first time!
And sometimes, when couch surfing fails, you have to sleep in a creepy underground mote @ ranch house motel
The basement humidity woke us early the next day. Abe and I decided to take it slow, thinking it would be better to rest our weary bodies (and souls) after our time in the underground. We took a scenic route through the mountains, enjoyed some time by a lake, and made it to Missoula with the later part of the afternoon still intact. The next step was to find a CouchSurfing host for the both of us. And that is how we came to know a place called Orange Acres…
@ Ewam Buddhist Center
While searching for a place, I came across a listing described as a “couch surfing community center” located on 8 acres of property 13 miles outside of Missoula. Included was a phone number and a note saying that the house was open to surfers with at least 3 positive references. As of right now, I have two positive references and two more pending, but I didn’t think it would be enough to convince the host. Abe volunteered to contact the host since he has 162 (!) positive references from all over the world.
One phone call and 15 minutes later, we were pulling onto a gravel road next to a used car lot with a sign that read ‘Orange Acres’. We parked by two buildings in the back, one a regular house and one that looked like a very large shed. We were greeted by a rather large dog named Griz and a wild man named Zachary. The friendly pair of them gave us a tour of the property, which was dotted with a number of miniature goats, chickens, and other dogs. Where were we?
9 PM. We came to learn that Orange Acres was started a few years ago by Jeff, the owner and groundskeeper with a rogue sensibility. He built a community building next to his house with a kitchen, bathroom, living area, and beds upstairs and has had up to 30 guests staying there at the same time. Unfortunately, the county had a problem with him opening up his home for free, so there are now zoning issues involved; Jeff’s charity is now limited to seven visitors at a time, by law, who may sleep in the main house and not in the communal building.
Jeff was asleep when we arrived, so Zach took us into the other building. Sitting in front of the TV was a seasoned-looking gentleman named Smitty, a Vietnam War vet who travels across the country. Zach had just finished making a delicious looking cobbler and was in the process of making chicken patties. Abe pitched in with the food prep and made his famous Indian style rice and beans. I went to the garden and picked lettuce for a salad. When the food was ready and the table set, Zach rang the dinner bell outside and, together with Smitty, Abe, Zach, and now Jeff, we sat down to eat.
So much free cheese… @ Mission General Store
The next day Abe and I explored the surrounding areas, which included a spontaneous free cheese tasting at an Amish grocery store, a trip to the wind mill cafe for a legendary huckleberry fritter, and a walk around the “Garden of 1000 Buddhas”, a Buddist retreat dotted with clay and stone Buddhas that are sculpted on the premises.
After we returned from the Garden of 1000 Buddhas, Jeff offered to take Abe, Zach, and I to the lake. We ventured around an island picking cherries, talking about various things. It was getting late, and the sun was waning. We decided to head back, when Jeff let me drive the boat back to the marina!
Bored Buggy @ Mission General Store
11 AM. The next morning we said our goodbyes to the OA and resumed our trek west again. After four very boring hours in eastern Washington and Oregon–nothing but very flat land–we finally entered the beautiful mountain terrain. I luckily found a CouchSurfing host in the Portland area that morning using my smartphone. His name was Justin, and he lived “with 10 people in this three story house which you can hardly tell there’s 10, however we all host. Sometimes we will have 10 couch surfers staying here.” Sounded like a plan!
Couch surfing meal in the making
Justin’s description did not do the place justice. I don’t think I met everyone who actually lived in the house; there were a LOT of people. Some coming, some going, some domestic, some international, some with jobs, or in school, some who had moved to Portland to retire at age 28. I spent the evening retelling my own story 12 times, why I was there, what was Audi’s part in it, and was met with great enthusiasm by everyone. Half of the people in the house travel to work by bike, the others by car, with everyone acknowledging how part social mobility fits in their lives.
On Monday, I ventured out into Portland. I have to say that I was a little disappointed. First, no bike (the one I was going to borrow broke). Second, I didn’t know where any of the “cool” stuff was located. And third, I didn’t find anyone to join me on my adventure. I spent the day walking instead, then spent $2.10 (that makes $67.10) to take the TriMet train up to the Northeast side, where I had heard about a couple of interesting shops. The shops happened to be closed because Mondays are to Portland what Sundays are to everywhere else–everything is closed and everyone is lazing around.
Lodekka Double Decker Dress Shop, just one of the many shops closed on my first day in town
That evening, after a trip to the farmers market, the roommates and I cooked a delicious dinner of rice noodles, spaghetti sauce, and tofu. Despite all the fun I was having, I wanted to make sure I would get out of Portland on Tuesday. Five minutes on ride share produced a solution. There were two girls traveling back from Portland to LA and had never used ride share before.
8:30 AM. The next morning I bid goodbye and good luck to my friend Abe, and set off to meet my ride. Two hours after they said they would arrive, I climbed into the back of a 93 Audi Quattro (!), tan, driven by Valeri, 21, and her friend Arlene, 23. The girls had been visiting a friend in the Portland area and, as a way of saving some money, wanted to try sharing a ride. I negotiated $30 ($97.10) for the 634-mile ride, which seemed close enough to free.
We headed off down the west coast, and then the most horrible thing that could have happened happened. My phone died. And my solar charger failed. And their car charger didnt work either. So I was stuck on the road for 10 hours without a phone. Unable to take photos or tweet. And then the next worst thing happened. I was dropped off in Oakland, near dark, with no phone, and no where to stay. Needless to say I was a bit concerned.
I walked up and down streets looking for an outlet and finally went into a Taco Bell and asked them to charge it. They complied for about five minutes, while I sat there begrudgingly eating tacos I had to purchase (out of my personal fund) in exchange for the charge. Back on the street, I had just enough battery to text Abe back in Portland to see if he knew anyone in the Oakland area (nope), see where the BART stations were for public transportation to San Fran (closed), and search for hostels (all booked).
I wasn’t about to get another motel room, so I decided to quit panicking and use the most reliable form of social networking: people skills. There were a couple of decent looking guys in front of a lounge called the Uptown Night Club. Apparently, they are usually closed on Tuesdays, but were trying out a $1 tamale night to boost business. I took this as a good omen, went inside, and ordered a beer in exchange for an outlet for my phone. It wasn’t more than 20 minutes talking to the bar tenders and the people around me before I found a place to sleep for the night.
2 AM. Tomorrow is it. I’m not even 15 miles from San Francisco. I’m too excited to even sleep. Not.
This is the fifth in a series of posts that will document Architizer blogger Lindsay Rule aka “Archispotter”as she makes her way across the country without cash or any planned means of transport. Find out more about the Architizer-Audi Urban Future Initiative collaborative project here. See the previous post here.
Abe and the Moon @ Bigfoot Pass Overlook
12 AM. Lost in theBadlands. We must have made a wrong turn awhile back, and now we’re somewhere in the Black Hills. With no phone reception. I’m kind of freaking out because I may lose my stayover tonight if I can’t get into contact with my friends. It’s dark, quiet, and more than a little scary. I’ve been up since 3:30 AM–I’m too tired for this!
Frank’s Work @ Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum
10 AM. In front of the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, looking up at its cacophony of rounded curves and sharp angles. The building, an “early” Frank Gehry (in full-Catia mode), is one of the many contemporary architectural landmarks that dot the city–one of the reasons why I wanted to pass through Minneapolis before heading back west. Hoping to spot some in my short time here, I woke up early in the morning, packed my things, and thanked my hosts, who graciously dropped me off in the city center. I spotted the lightrail, but thought it wiser to make use of my legs instead since I didn’t have a good grasp on the city layout.
Look! @ Mall of America Field
I walked across the Stone Arch Bridge towards downtown. The bridge once bore the Great Northern Railway, but now it’s serves a much more humble purpose as a pedestrian and bicycle pathway. On the other side, I moved towards the Metrodome, but soon realized the area wasn’t particularly pedestrian friendly, surrounded as it was with a series of parking lots. I drifted a bit northwest, where I came upon what seemed like an American “downtown”, with a series of anonymous towers, the odd historical structure or two (in this case, City Hall), and more-or-less empty public plazas.
Lunch. I found my way to Government Plaza next to City Hall and browsed Yelp for a good food cart when I found a tamale vendor (yay!) nearby. I sat on a bench, food in one hand, my smallish laptop balanced with the other, searching in vain for wifi. I had heard about Minneapolis’ vast public wifi network and how it was the envy of most American cities. Strangely though, there was none to be found around City Hall (to change soon, it seems). I settled for searching on my smartphone, clumsily flipping through listings. I didn’t have to carry on the acrobatics for long.
I soon found a 28-year old grad student on his way to Rapid City leaving at 4 AM the next morning. Thirty minutes and two emails later, I was on the phone with Abe, a recent education grad on break till the new school year. He was looking for company across what was described as “the most boring parts of Minnesota and South Dakota”, and offered to meet with me whenever was convenient.
The House of Balls
But I wasn’t quite ready to relinquish my freedom. Instead, I contacted a local artist involved with the ArtCar movement. After swapping introductions and explaining the purpose of my trip, I asked him if he could spare some time in the afternoon to show me his car and, if possible, to take me for a drive around the city. He agreed, and twenty minutes later I was standing inside the bizarre House of Balls Gallery talking with its owner, Allen Christian.
Elmer Ford @ House of Balls
Allen’s 1960 Ford Pick up was waiting outside, and as I climbed into the shag-carpeted passenger seat, I felt a touch of glee when I noticed passerby’s inspecting the eccentric vehicle. Allen, like Kai in Madison, had a thorough knowledge of the city and was happy to drive me around. He gave me a tour of the city’s different neighborhoods, pointing out when we had passed from one to another with an anecdote, and stopped at places of interest like the Stone Arch Bridge, the water tower, and the Guthrie Theater.
Allen aboard the ‘Elmer Ford’
Nice Cantilever @ Guthrie Theater
6 PM. After spending the afternoon with Allen, it dawned on me how much more of the city I felt I had seen when compared to just this morning. Several hours and free BBQ later, Allen had shown me the best of Minneapolis and made me feel at ease with the city.
Still, evening was approaching and my phone was dying, so I thought it best to call Abe. I said by to Allen, and met Abe outside of Tracey’s Tavern, a nearby bar. We exchanged introductions, then went back to his apartment, where I happily sluffed off my pack and charged my phone. We talked for a while about my trip and where we were both heading.
Pelli-designed Library @ Minneapolis Central Library
It turns out that Abe, an inveterate traveler with an incurable form of wanderlust, seems to be a couch surfing legend; he’s spent years traveling Europe and South America, using couch surfing, hostels, ride share, and yes, the occasional hitchhike to get from place to place. When I told him about my trip, he thought it was an amazing opportunity to let people know there are ways to travel without spending tons of money, and that your experience is genuinely better because you’re allowing yourself to go forth with an open mind and an optimistic attitude. Plus, he mentioned, it’s a good way to push for more creative and efficient, highly connected forms of living and transit, like the dense urban networks and infrastructure found in Europe which make travel and many other aspects of life so much easier.
Soon, it was off to bed because we were planning an early start for the next day. I set my alarm for 3:40 AM and crashed out on the futon. A moment later, the alarm let out a hideous cry and I was up, showered, and ready to go as Abe sleepily crawled out of bed to gather his stuff.
Holy Cow @ Porter’s Sculpture Garden
Once the gear was packed and the car fueled up, we set off across Minnesota towards South Dakota. The terrain–if it can be called that–soon become boring, as endless corn fields and soy bean patches streaked by the car window. We did, however, stumble across a few oddities in our adventures, such as Porter’s Sculpture Yard off of I-90. There are no signs, no advertisements for the place, only a 60-foot steel bull head in a pasture off to the left. We pulled over, paid our $6 admission fee (that makes $25 I’ve used so far), and wandered through a maze of wonderfully ironic and expressive sculptures.
Once we crossed the Missouri River, the scenery dramatically changed. Corn and soy gave way to amber waves of grain and sunflowers, and flat farm land morphed into rolling hills. Some 500 miles later, we made it to the Badlands in the late afternoon. We quickly realized how the land had earned its less than generous name: it looked like the moon. It was windy, dusty, and not very hospitable to any kind of life. But the scenic path threaded throughout the national park was dotted with motorcyclists, RVs, and cars, all pulled off at various viewpoints to take in the breathtaking vistas. We did the same, moving at a snail’s pace through the park until night had fallen.
We headed into the Black Hills around 9 PM. At this point, I was trying to contact some friends that had Facebook-messaged me earlier in the day saying that they would be in the area and that I could stay the night with them in their cabin. This was perfect, except I didn’t get precise directions from them, thinking I would call them as we got closer. But Abe and I had taken a wrong turn toward Mt. Rushmore and were now lost in the Hills, with no phone reception. Which brings us back to the beginning of the post.
Harley’s at Sturgis!
1 AM. Nearly 3 hours after turning off the path, we finally found our way out and back onto I-90. I was able to call my friends Kathy and Alwin, Harley-Davidson enthusiasts and all-around awesome people. They directed us to their place, where I said good night to Abe, promising to meet up the next day for a Harley-Davidson show outside of Rapid City. Exhausted from the day’s events, I quickly fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning, Alwin took me up the road to the bike show. Later, Abe met back up with me and the two of us hauled out of town toward Sturgis to take in the local culture. The streets were lined with motorcycles, as ubiquitous as the leather chaps worn by their riders. The motorcycle rally was planned for later in the day, but we had to get going. Abe had to pull me away from all the bikes–this would be the second time I’ve ridden a motorcycle this trip, and I’m already hooked!
This is the third in a series of posts that will document Architizer blogger Lindsay Rule aka “Archispotter”as she makes her way across the country without cash or any planned means of transport. Find out more about the Architizer-Audi Urban Future Initiative collaborative project here. See the previous post here.
1 PM. I’m about to leave Chicago after just 21 hours being here. I’m now more or less 1/3 of the way to San Francisco, so Chicago was a memorable, even important pit-stop. I spent most of my day walking, exploring the city’s architecture and, most important, trying to find a place to sleep. Continue.
Gazing up at the Bean
Yesterday, 6 PM. I said my goodbyes to Cameron at Millennium Park a couple of hours ago. From there, I lounged in the park for a while, walking around, snapping photos of the Cloud Gate as tourists and wedding parties filed underneath the giant reflective bean. I sat on the lawn in front of the Pritzker Pavilion by Frank Gehry, and later cooled my feet in the shallow pool along the boardwalk in the Lurie Garden.
As the sun began to wane, I realized I hadn’t properly planned my stay in Chicago. Usually, I would I have sent out several couchrequests just to be sure I had a place to stay, but my drive from Ohio to Chicago was so long and hadn’t afforded me a quiet moment to couchsurf on my phone. I searched around, but couldn’t find anything. In my moment of panic, I turned to Facebook, where I searched for friends in the Chicago network. A familiar name popped up–my high school friend Brendan from Oklahoma who had moved to Chicago years ago. We talked on Facebook chat, and I mentioned that Audi was sending me across the country to “test-drive” social mobility. Not only was he thrilled to accept me as a house guest, he also gave me two free tickets to improv shows at his local theater, ComedySportz Club.
Today, 8 AM. I woke up this morning and immediately jumped online to look for rideshares. I came across an offer for a MegaBus ticket from Margaret, a college student who was trying to get home to Madison, WI, but, due to unforeseen circumstances, had to stay in Chicago for a few more days. She wanted $20 for the ticket (understandable) so I emailed her, explaining the project that I’m doing. She responded within 30 minutes and simply emailed me the e-ticket, free of charge. Knowing my next destination, I thought it would be better not to repeat yesterday. I searched for a half hour before I got in contact with Kai, 27, theater technician. With my previous background in theater, I thought he would be a good person to contact since we would have something to talk about as an icebreaker.
I bade farewell and good luck to Brendan and boarded the subway (CTA), thinking it was the best way to explore other parts of the city. It costs me $4 (that’s $19 now, from my $100 emergency reserve), but it was well worth it. I rode in with the morning commuters, most of which had their heads buried in their smart phones, sometimes peering out the window as the train ramped up above the street. There’s a bit of this in New York, mostly in the outer Burroughs like Queens, and other cities where subway trains, cars, and pedestrians, infrastructure and architecture share the same urban space.
I spent my last few hours in Chicago walking along the waterfront, the heart of the city’s most famous architecture. I went by the Marina City towers, the House of Blues, Trump Tower, and, most exciting, Mies van der Rohe’s IBM Building. At 12:30 I was on the south side of Union Station awaiting my ride out of Chicago.
My ride out of Chicago to Madison
This was my first experience on a MegaBus. It was similar to the Bolt Bus in that it had AC power outlets and WiFi access; there were, however a few notable differences, namely, really terrible leg room and no overhead bin storage. My Bolt Bus from Boston was not completely full which allowed me to keep my pack on the seat next to me. This bus was servicing commuters to Madison and Minneapolis so there were no extra seats, so I was forced to stuff my pack between my legs. Needless to say, I spent three hours sitting in the fetal position while the girl next to me decided to test the limits of my personal bubble.
Welcome to Madison
4 PM. Just arrived at the Memorial Union of the University of Wisconsin. Kai and I arranged a pick-up via cell phone; five minutes later, a charismatic looking chap on a motorcycle pulled up in front of the building. He spotted me and told me to hop on. He drove us back up toward the state capitol building, all the while filling me in on the geography of the town, the surrounding lakes, places of interest, etc. Kai obviously had a strong interest in his town and was enthusiastic about giving an out-of-towner the low down. We circled the capitol once, then headed down East Washington Ave. towards his house where he lives with his girlfriend Elli and roommates, John and Heather.
In search of beer
After the initial introductions to the crew and to the couch where I would be sleeping, everyone started preparing food for dinner, and welcomed me to help out; they made me feel as though I had an established place among them even though we had known each other for only 30 minutes. We grilled on the front porch, talked about traveling and what he thought about my trip, which he thinks is “testing the information infrastructure that travelers rely on everyday.” Afterwards, we set off to downtown in search of beer. On the way, Kai made a point of showing me State Street, the main artery that connects the downtown center to the university, and the campus itself which, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful universities I’ve ever seen.
Day 6 (July 30)
9 PM. I’m in St. Paul. How’d I get here? Well, this morning, over a blueberry pancake-and-watermelon breakfast, my hosts inquired about the next leg of my journey. I mentioned Minneapolis as a possible destination and without hesitation, Kai and Elli volunteered to drive me up to the Twin Cities, saying they had nothing else going on. But before we took off on the 5-hour ride, there were two important tasks to be done.
Inside the Wisconsin Capitol
The first was to take me inside of the state capital building and up to the observation deck where I had a 360 view of Madison, showing the lakes to either side, the university to the west, and the Monona Terrance Community and Convention Center, which was originally proposed and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, but not built until nearly 30 years after his death.
The second task was to teach me how to drive a motorcycle. After tipping over three times and stalling out, I finally handled the order of operations well enough to shift the Suzuki into first from neutral, release the clutch slowly and throttle up slowly until I was officially driving a motorcycle! I didn’t go very fast, but I’ll count it: vehicle type #5 of the trip, following #1-bus, #2-car, #3-boat taxi/fishing boat, and #4-subway.
We traveled up route 12 from Madison, eventually coming onto the Wisconsin River, where we boarded the free Merrymac ferry (another mode of transport!). We arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota around 5 PM. Joined then by Kai’s sister, her husband and baby, the six of us enjoyed Ethiopian food for dinner (another first for me). I was offered a couch for the night, and I gladly accepted it.
My cross-country route so far
And that’s where I am now. Tomorrow, I’ll spend some time visiting the city. There’s a lot of architecture to see, but I can’t tarry too long. It’s almost been a week since I left Boston, and with 1,400 miles under my belt, I’m about half way through my trip. I still have eight days to go, but I don’t want to waste any time.
This is the third in a series of posts that will document Architizer blogger Lindsay Rule aka “Archispotter”as she makes her way across the country without cash or any planned means of transport. Find out more about the Architizer-Audi Urban Future Initiative collaborative project here. See the previous post here.
“That’s where I B @ Cloud Gate”
10:00 AM. It’s Saturday morning, and I’m standing in front of the ‘Bean’ at Millennium Park in Chicago. It’s been an eventful three or so days, to say the least, and I’m only now figuring out how I got here. I’m sure they’ll be plenty to report from the Windy City, but that’s for a later post (keep your eyes peeled). For now, though, here’s how I traveled over 1,000 miles on no money or planned transport in just 3 days. Continue.
“Pete”, our faithful companion
When I last left you, I had just arrived in New York, fresh off a (well-spent) $15-ride–$85 left in the emergency fund—on the Bolt Bus. I spent most of the 4-hour trip searching for transport out of New York, scouring Craiglist, Ridejoy, Facebook, and even Twitter for any leads. After my bad luck leaving Boston, I caught a break in the form of photographer Cameron Browne. A fellow Ridesharer and traveler, Cameron had recently traveled from Portland to Boston to document the “People of America“–a photo project featuring amicable Americans at home, work, or play–and was now (slowly) making his way back home. He offered me a ride from New York as far as Chicago, and after meeting Thursday morning, we set off together in my new friend’s endearing 80′s hatchback–or “Pete” as he’s known to his friends.
My new friend Cameron
8:25 AM, July 26. From New York, we set out at on I-80 towards West. Through a somewhat complicated set of relations (the father of one of Cameron’s college friends), we knew we had a place to stay that night in Ohio, over 8 hours and some 525 miles from New York. This seemingly interminable distance before us turns out to be about the average buffer between cities (500 miles) in the United States; this vast black hole of highway could accommodate some 10 cities of the future, hyper-connected kind—such as the “BosWash” city-region proposed by Höweler & Yoon—that would be spaced only 50 miles apart.
Still, we figured we’d detour at some point and decided on Pittsburg, located nearly 375 miles southwest from Manhattan. We were well on our way before we were stalled by an East-bound storm and were forced to pull over at a rest stop. We mulled over what we should do—either wait out the storm, pass through Pittsburg, then make for Ohio and our host’s home at a (very) late hour OR head straight to Ohio and rest up for the next couple of days of driving. We opted for the latter, and arrived at night at Port Clinton.
Some 30 hours into the challenge, 600 miles crossed, 3 modes of transport, and 1 new friend, I felt for the first time that the trip was really underway, that I was really doing this.
The ‘Brig Niagra’ on Lake Erie, Day 3, morning
The small town of Port Clinton curves along a southwestern swell of Lake Erie, which is where we spent most of Friday. One of the things about Rideshare(s) is that you are beholden to the time schedule of whomever is giving you a ride. In this case, I spent two nights in Ohio, not a bad thing as it would turn out.
We set out with our host and three of his friends at 8:20 AM, the five of us–four firemen, one photographer, and an architect-to-be–crossing the lake on a water taxi under the morning sun. We boarded a fishing boat with our host and fished for several hours, make a couple of big catches, before heading back home to cook them for dinner. There may have been some water skiing too…
First catch of the day, 9 AM
We stayed that night, then left the next morning for Chicago, the first big milestone of the trip. We drove 6.5 hours before crossing the city line (around 2:45 PM), after a pancake breakfast in South Bend, Indiana and ogling over classic cars in Rolling Prairie.
I left Cameron at Millennium Park, with the offhand chance that we’d meet again in Portland. But one question remains: Where will I sleep tonight?
This is the second in a series of posts that will document Architizer blogger Lindsay Rule aka “Archispotter” as she makes her way across the country without cash or any planned means of transport. Find out more about the Architizer-Audi Urban Future Initiative collaborative project here. See the previous post here.
Höweler & Yoon Architecture; All photos: Archispotter, with exception where noted
Day 1 (July 25, 2012)
It was 12:30 in the afternoon when I set off from Boston on my two-week trip across the country, smartphone in hand, pockets empty, a mixture of excitement and nervousness curdling in my stomach. It’s now 8:00 PM, and after a long day of having my tidy plans fall through one after the other, I’m in New York, hoping to find a ride and, finally, start heading West. Continue.
Eric Höweler of Höweler & Yoon Architecture; Photo: Audi Urban Future Initiative
The day began at the offices of Höweler & Yoon Architecture. I was there to meet the architects and to see the work they’ve been conducting with Audi Urban Future Initiative. Along with six other architecture firms, each with their own proposals for a future urbanism, Höweler & Yoon have developed a new model for the city.
I ♥ BosWash
More than a conceptual plan, Höweler & Yoon’s “BosWash” project is not untied to existing socioeconomic realities and urban conditions; it takes this data and accelerates it, bringing us to 2030, with the (on-going) construction of one interconnected megalopolis that spans from Boston to Washington DC. Yet despite the immensity of the plan, which would form the world’s eighth largest economy, this “city-region” is built on the kind of infrastructure, both old and “smart” alike, that is already in place today, as I would discover soon after embarking on my journey.
The aquarium at the Long Wharf, the site of my first adventure
1:00 PM. I arrived at Long Wharf and made my way over to the ferry kiosk thinking I could spare a few dollars of my “emergency fund” for an exciting start to my adventure. But the ferry to Provincetown cost $83 (which would nearly have consumed the entirety of said fund), while other cheaper ferries weren’t really going to deposit me anywhere that would advance my trip.I decided to abandon the plan and retreated to a nearby strip of the Rose Kennedy Greenway to strategize a new plan.
The Greenway; Photo: Audi Urban Future Initiative
With its wide public lawns, easy accessibility, and–most importantly for me–free wifi, the Greenway is a glimpse into the type of intra-/inter-urban corridor that connects each of the cities that dot Höweler & Yoon’s “BosWash” conurbation. This prototypal park, part of the historic “Big Dig”, collects all manner of amenities and resources into a new kind of infrastructure, one which correspondingly fosters new ideas of living, sociability, and mobility. Höweler & Yoon’s previous work (“Public Works: Unsolicited Small Projects for the Big Dig”) explored just some of the many possibilities for how urban projects like the Greenway can change the future of our cities.
2:35 PM. After more than an hour scanning rideshare postings and all of craigslist from the past week in the Boston, New Haven, Hartford, New York, Long Island Areas, not to mention messaging a promising listing that, after 45 precious minutes, turned out to be a dead-end, I was no closer to getting out of Boston. I tweeted at friends from around the area and messaged them on Facebook, but they were mostly unavailable, out of town, or without any means of transport. I half-heartedly searched Hubway for bike rentals, soon giving up after realizing that cycling would only take me so far (and would keep me in Boston).
Setting up on the Greenway lawn, wifi all ready to go
3:00 PM. I had to make an executive decision. It was apparent that I would be stuck in Boston for the better part of the day if I didn’t act. So with a tinge of regret, I threw down some cash ($15) and picked up a Bolt Bus back to NYC–a strategic choice, I thought, since the amount of people posting for Rideshare, CouchSurfing, or even volunteer opportunities that might result in a free ride somewhere are significantly larger. Why the Bolt Bus? Power for the laptop, free wifi, and peace and quiet to catch some rest. All three things that I need right now.
7:00 PM. I just arrived in New York, where I will hopefully find a connecting ride or at least a place to sleep for the evening. Either way, I want to jettison the East Coast tomorrow. But for now, I’ve got to find a public restroom—a recurring problem I seemed to have not anticipated before the start of the trip!
This is the first in a series of posts that will document Architizer blogger Lindsay Rule aka “Archispotter” as she makes her way across the country without cash or any planned means of transport. Find out more about the Architizer-Audi Urban Future Initiative collaborative project here.
All photos: Archispotter
I woke up in Fairlawn, NJ. I went over my supplies again:
1 crestrail backpack
1 voltaic solar charger
Essential clothing and toiletries
I jumped on a NJ transit train from Radburn to Penn Station. It was officially my first time on a train.
Arriving in New York early, I grabbed a quick breakfast from a street vendor outside and sat on the steps of the city post office opposite Madison Square Garden. I had little time to take in the enormity of the curious concrete saucer before having to duck back underground to board my train to Boston. I left New York at 10:03 AM on the 2154 Amtrak Express to Boston-South Station. On the train car, I met a nice girl on her way back to school. Her name is Olivia Oberndorf, a student at BU pursuing a degree in archeology (!) and the first of many new friends I’ll be making on the trip.
Once we were moored in Boston–the station is some kind of strange hybrid, the product of some 1980s marriage of the neoclassical, colonnaded shell and the steel superstructure that holds it together–Olivia helped navigate me across town. She and her roommate Colleen gave me a ride–the first of the trip!–and ferried me over to North Station, when I got a call from The Boston Herald asking to interview me about my trip (see the article here).
Afterwards, I took in in some sites (Boston City Hall!) at a calm pace–soon to be quite the luxury–passing the evening wandering around, before crashing on the couch of another hospitable student named Florian Dhondt, whom I found on CouchSurfing.org–just one of the services/sites I’ll be relying on for the next two weeks.
That was yesterday. It’s now Wednesday morning, DAY 1. At noon, I’ll be giving a presentation on my trip and social mobility with architects Höweler Yoon, who are doing some really amazing things with Audi Urban Future Initiative as part of a larger, six-part project that investigates the future of mobility. The six participating architecture firms have developed a case study of their own, with H+Y’s contribution outlining a vision of mobility in 2030 for the BosWash (Boston-Washington DC) corridor.
This morning in ‘The Boston Herald’
Their work, along with that of their colleagues, questions how infrastructure, new and old, can become an engine for urban development; in H+Y’s scenario, the BosWash region has become the world’s 8th-largest economic power, a vast urban conglomeration built up mostly from the ambitious 30-year infrastructure program (“Putting America Back to Work”) initiated by the Obama administration. This conurbation would be linked by “smart streets” that treat the car not as an “autonomous means of transport”, as it is today, but, instead, as a “mobility device”, one of many. There’s a lot more going on, but I’ll have more to say about the project after today’s meeting.
From there, the plans are to jump on a commuter ferry (I’ve got a small fund to cover public transport, just small enough to discourage me from abusing it!) and from there, who knows! Wish me luck, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (#somotrip) and Instagram!