Texas A&M University. First Year Graduate Studio. Fall 2011. Student: Jing Zhang
Critic: Gabriel Esquivel
Ferrari Showroom. Downtown Houston, TX.
The idea behind this project was to equate the social status of car culture with the culture of architecture, which unfortunately is not considered as a prominent culture anymore. At the same to negotiate with the city in the creation of public, extremely necessary in cities like Houston. Another important part of the project was the relationship between infrastructure and architecture, not a new topic, however we tend to forget this relationship. The project was interesting in the production of spectacle as an essential retail aspect in the car culture.
One site was the area of the Houston Galleria in the corner of Westheimer and 610, the corner site could operate as a gateway to the shopping area as well as a connector to the different shopping sites including the Galleria itself, by the way, this area has no public space.
The other site was in the Downtown area the selected site was directly under I-45, currently misused an this are is desperate need for the creation of public space. This site is socially complex, it is basically a leftover space, mainly occupied by the homeless. This area includes programs like a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, a church, a hospital an a car dealership. The idea was that the showroom with ignite a negotiation with the city in the production of public space, the integration of infrastructure and program diversity.
Maybe a bit hopeful or naive but we must find ways to reinstate architecture's social and cultural status.