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2012 Award of Merit - Peeping Streets
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Project Category: Student - Open Space - Graduate Level

Project Name: Peeping Streets

Student: Devin Cejas - Florida International University

Length of Design Effort & Date of Completion: Spring 2011
 

Faculty Advisors: Gianno Feoli

This design is entrenched in the explorations of the different degrees and tensions of voyeurism in both ­­­historical and contemporary contexts, which pertain to the relationship a spectator has with its subject and landscape. The street, its context and the role of the user all play a pivotal role in the make up of a voyeuristic landscape and the intimacies captured along this street will provide a unique experience for the user while creating an outdoor environment that blurs the boundary between public and private spaces.

The genius loci of the site begins with the existing building’s architecture and their scale. These businesses along these streets have upheld the integrity of this residential community by maintaining the building common mean height of approximately twenty feet. Businesses have renovated and retrofitted existing homes and apartment buildings to accommodate their individual needs. High-rise buildings located on adjacent blocks within walking distance conversely range from heights of 200’ to 400’ and reflect the growing condominium market, hotels and businesses the site services.

The spurts of the city’s growth, coupled with a lack of investment in the upgrade of the right-of-way’s public infrastructure, has left the site’s streets riddled with imperfections to include surface cracks, obstructed sidewalks, poor drainage, and low-hanging, overloaded power lines. In addition to these issues the outer lanes of the three-lane roadway is used for daytime vehicular parking, resulting in a single operative lane.

Similarly, the valet and nightclub parking needs mimic the daytime condition at night. These conditions, coupled with infrastructure and shade tree’s obstructing locations within the public ROW, constrict and impede pedestrian mobility.

Given these site conditions, users, either pedestrian or vehicular, still posses the ability to navigate the site by sidestepping and creating their own distinctive paths wherever and however possible. Daytime activity is more static due to the users ability to park at front of their place of destination, preventing the possibility of a user engaging with other spaces and stimulating economic growth.

At night the opposite is more true, the grittiness of the street conditions become part of the DNA that compliments businesses and assist with attracting all forms of users. The street congestion at night allows the single lane a place for the vehicular user to observe the activity visible on the street, whether deciding which venue to attend, gazing at others dine, conversing, or simply observing the commotion on the street.

The street obstructions also play a role for the pedestrian, by establishing moments for pause, which harness activity, create places within spaces, and frames the views this project will attempt to emulate.

The essence of this design can be narrowed down to the ability of capturing the realism behind a landscape and its people. Design goals to promote daytime leisure activity, fortify around-the-clock commerce and entertainment, and instill memory within the user have been met and answer the question: How is landscape voyeuristic? With this design Calle Uruguay becomes the stage, for where the users are the actors in a drama that portray the essence of realism this street has always harbored.

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MISSION STATEMENT Leading, educating, and participating in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments.
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