A few thoughts for Valentine’s Day

BIG Valentine

The High Line before it became a park

While I think that Valentine’s Day is gross, there are a few things I’ve wanted to share that don’t really fit anywhere else. So today, three love stories: The first isn’t so much a story as a valentine to a city; the second is about a more amorous love in the same city, and the final story is about a relationship between a professional and his profession.

The Valentine, designed by BIG, sits in the middle of Times Square. There’s an LED heart inside the grid of translucent tubes that glows brighter and beats faster with increasing activity, or an increasing number of people touching the heart-shaped sensor in front of the sculpture. You can watch an interview with Bjarke about the sculpture here (you just have to ignore the first minute or so of people talking about “goin’ green” for Valentines.)

The more amorous kind of love is happening, or was happening, under and around the old High Line. Robert Hammond, one of the co-founders of Friends of the High Line (the group that spearheaded the transformation of the abandoned elevated railway into a new typology of public urban park) spoke in an interview about the gay past of the infrastructure-turned-park. The project happens to snake through the areas of Manhattan most closely associated with gay folks. Robert talks about a whole bunch of clubs that used to be there, an unnamed donor who used to leave said clubs and puke on the High Line, and why it is that so many of the early supporters of the project were gay. His answer? “I believe gays have an ability to see beauty in places other people might find repellent or unattractive. It was easier for gays to see potential in the High Line. They were more willing to support a crazy dream.”

Finally, The relationship is between Lebbeus Woods and Architecture. In two posts from his personal blog, the architect talks about how his relationship with architecture began. Recently, the news surrounding architecture has been gloomy, with architects suffering the highest unemployment rates in survey after survey. So it’s nice to see an architectural professional recall a rosier time in his relationship with the profession by talking about why he gravitated toward architecture. Why was architecture so attractive to Mr. Woods? Here’s a hint: it was never about money or job security.

February 14, 2012 / By