LAB 4th St/I-35 Underpass Mural
Start Date: 2011-02-21
End Date: 2012-03-05
This project did not pass the external review process. TXDOT had continued concerns about the ability of maintenance crews to detect stress fractures on structural elements during routine inspections.
This project was initiated as a way to beautify the LAB 4th St/I-35 Underpass and add a recognizable identity to the site in addition to presenting a uniform appearance. This in turn will lead to the site being viewed as a used space and will assist in reducing its attractiveness (attractive nuisance) for graffiti and other random defacement and, hopefully, reduce the time that is required to maintain the site. Historically, I-35 has been divisive in Austin in multiple ways, financially, culturally, and racially, in addition to making it more difficult to traverse from east to west (or in reverse) via something other than an automobile.
The proposed design is intended to make the site seem friendly and welcoming. It directly anthropomorphises the space itself by having it take on the role of the greeter to the area of the underpass. It can also be indirectly viewed as Downtown welcoming the travelers from East Austin via the west bound text and East Austin welcoming travelers from Downtown/West Austin via the east bound text.
Being minimalistic in both design and materials the installation consists solely of paint on the piers (support columns) bisecting the 4th street bicycle and pedestrian underpass (Google Street View). The continued ability to detect the appearance of stress fractures on the structural elements was taken into account during the design process. This resulted in the uniform color zones (single color sections) with 80% of the of the painted surface consisting of a single color and the remaining surface area either being one of three single color 6″ bands or the block lettering in the two 1.5′ zones. The planned visual paint surface is more uniform than the current cover-up paint being applied to the piers which is a jigsaw of various sized rectangles and colors overlaying graffiti.
The eight piers in the series are indexed from west to east: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,and 8 respectively.
Pier Sections (vertical from the ground up):
0-5′ light blue band
5′-5.5′ dark blue band
5.5′-7′ light blue band with orange letters
7′-7.5′ dark blue band
7.5′-9′ light blue band with orange letters
9′-9.5′ dark blue band
Each letter is 1.3′ tall and all caps. On the north side of the piers the letters are oriented 55 degrees clockwise off of north so that they face the direction of arriving traffic. On the south side of the piers the letters are oriented 235 degrees clockwise off of north for the same reason.
The planned font for the project is the Qlassik Font (not used in the 3D rendering).