Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Material Mapping

I think that one important factor we consider when we consider the materiality of this site in particular is the signage. To me, signage seems to fit both under the MATERIAL and SOCIETAL fields. Societal, since graphics and signage are closely linked to advertisement, which is determined by societal trends.

What I can remember about this site is that it utilizes a very vernacular style of architecture, or rather lack thereof. The buildings have coexisted harmoniously with the landscape for decades, and do not appear to be threatened by the encroachment of any monumental architectural endeavors. The buildings have been carved out and reformatted for different purposes, and I believe few maintain their original program or function. For these reasons, the buildings that line South First Street must maintain attractive and alluring signage as the primary vehicle to lure customers to that vernacular southern region of Austin. It is no downtown, where the Frost Tower and other skyscrapers manipulate the public with their towering greatness. In contrast, the buildings rely on history, tradition, establishment, and legacy -- ie. word of mouth through the Austinites -- to create an alluring urban fabric. That, and signage. And that is why I think that it is crucial to investigate the signage in this region of Austin in order to fully realize its material character.

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