Design Phase 2012
In many U.S. cities after World War II, the emergence of high-rise office towers created an insatiable need for parking that was met by razing large swaths of what had been a dense urban environment. Today, such surface parking lots are common entry points in many cities, including Columbus, for residents, visitors, and tourists.
The curatorial team for Finding Time identified a series of parking lot locations and commissioned five Columbus architects/firms to design their own fantastic riffs on parking lot booths. As an additional component of the project, Finding Time Curatorial Assistant Dow Kimbrell led an undergraduate design seminar at The Ohio State University’s Knowlton School of Architecture to create another design proposal.
In Bold Booths, the ubiquitous, seemingly desolate spaces of surface parking lots—and specifically the utilitarian shack- or kiosk-like structures typically found on them—have been reconsidered, turning our attention to the potential for innovative design in gaps in the urban infrastructure. At the same time, the architects sought to provide shelter for the parking lot attendants, many of whom are immigrant workers largely invisible to the patrons they serve. These unique new designs were also intended to spark dialogue between commuters and attendants, bringing into sharp focus the role design can play in expanding the social capital within the city.
The original plan was to have the booths built as temporary installations during the Finding Time project; they would then have been dismantled like the constructs of a world’s fair. The Bold Booths project has evolved, however, and plans are underway to build five permanent structures based on the proposals commissioned as part of Finding Time. The first, Coney Island by Bolstein/Overly Architects, was dedicated on June 7, 2015. Independent and spread out across the downtown core, the permanent Bold Booths will continue to offer transformative urban experiences in downtown Columbus. This suite of distinct, one-of-a-kind structures will be a legacy of Finding Time’s program of predominantly temporary public art, extending its mission and ideas into the years ahead.