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Luminare

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Everything posted by Luminare

  1. I get it. Its the direction its going. In my opinion, if thats the direction its going, then fine, but go all the way man. I've always said this, I don't like cults and I think they are stupid, but if I had to be part of a cult then I would be part of the A&M cult, because at the very least its a happy cult haha. Even if I disagree with that kind of mentality, of all the places to build anything grandiose it should be the place with proud industrious people with weird traditions. I think it would be a crime to not express that to its fullest. The world should not miss out in just how truly special A&M and truly weird it is, warts and all.
  2. If this is what you mean then I actually agree. I was part of a company with the A&M Corps of Cadets that always had to polish that dopey giant ring. Its certainly not my favorite monument on campus. By far the best is the Bonfire memorial because of its simple, and graceful. While I'm not a fan of the giant ring I understand what it represents even if its a bit overdone and to obvious. Its just strange that Nuremburg is specifically the city chosen to describe it given its obvious connotations. I've been to St. Peters Basilica in Rome. Its an impressive structure and its beautiful....a bit grandiose. I mean there is gold trim everywhere. I've been to the Mall at Washington D.C. Where every single building is designed to reinforce the ideals, principles, and beliefs of what it means to be an American, and liberalism at large. Its beautiful and amazing to see but its also intimidating and grandiose. As far as too many allees in one place. Yeah thats a reasonable question aesthetically, but lets be real here A&M is very orderly, industrious, traditional school, and so grand allees that showcase all of those things, even if there are two many, works in an environment with those ideals. Even if I might think its overdone its just what A&M is. I think more than anything A&M has learned to just accept what it is, to be very confident and verbose about what it is, and now everything that is being built has become a reflection of that. Gone are the days when I was there when A&M was that dorky big college with weird traditions, and at the same time was always a little insecure about what other schools thought of it, in particular Texas. Now its going through a phase where its seems to really be embracing what it always was. Anyway thats just how I see it.
  3. I literally worked for a firm that focused exclusively on both K-12 education, trade school campuses, and higher education...yes its an arms race for every single facility not just sports. Its from Stadiums, to STEM buildings, to Administration buildings, to Liberal Arts, and yes even parks. Look at UofH, look at A&M. Last time I visited the University of Texas they were doing the same thing and also increasing the size of their stadium and improving promenades and park spaces. If the university didn't think that this was visible to prospective students then they wouldn't improve it. Look if you don't like the ring itself or what it symbolizes then that is your personal viewpoint, but that doesn't mean that a promenade leading up to giant ring is somehow pseudo-fascistic, which is what Nuremburg comparison is implying. I've been to grand allees of all kinds from the grand boulevards of Paris which made through force of will demolishing buildings for its cause while putting grand works of public art as landmarks as its nodes, and I've also been to Karl Marx Allee in Berlin which used to be called Stalin Allee as it was specific designed to highlight the ideals of Socialism. From Renaissance, to Baroque, to Neoclassical, to Modernism, from those who believe in liberalism to Socialism, to fascisms, from religious to the secular. Every culture expresses spaces through these kind of allees with massive landmarks at the ends. Just because you have a personal beef with a giant ring at the end of it doesn't mean it is or even vaguely resembles your subjective understanding of what you think it is.
  4. To me the park seems very Kevin Lynch inspired. Edges are very defined, Clear Nodes, Established districts with environments that inform you how a space should be used, and using established landmarks for way finding. I don't really understand these other comparisons to Nuremburg or whatever. Its not the park. Its the the arms race of facilities. That has been their goal. Saying that upgrading a park for a university doesn't elevate the level of your university is just like saying Memorial Park improvements, Buffalo Bayou, Discovery Green, Theater Square, etc, etc... aren't improvements which elevate the status of Houston as a city. Its not a great argument.
  5. As one who went to A&M and was in the Corps of Cadets, Spence park was only ever used for two things, making Freshman (Fish) do pushups and pullups, along with running up and down the hill, and on weekends it was used for tailgating. Other than those two things Spence Park was always a dead space of a park. It was butt ugly and nobody spent time there. I welcome the changes, and its in line with what the schools direction has been over the past decade or so. Many old Ags don't like it and even people like me who went there in the last decade think whats being put in or replacing things is a bit...much sometimes, but its part of a greater goal by the board of directors which is simple. If we want to be a top 10 university then we need facilities, spaces, and environments that match that caliber of a school. That has been the goal. Whether one agrees with the aesthetics or grandiose nature of it all it has worked, and I at least admire the schools commitment to that objective.
  6. I can't wait to drive through this the next time I'm in town whenever this is completed.
  7. Has Skanska released anything further on what they will be doing with their other holdings? I don't remember seeing anything that indicated what they are planning next.
  8. The Phoenix Slide huh? Now that is a new one for me. Now I gotta see it in action the next time I'm down there. Is it anything like what you used to have to do to move from that off ramp of I-10 to get all the way to the farthest lane to get onto 290? From what I've observed thus far in Utah in comparison to Utahns....Houston drivers suck, or maybe its not that they suck, but there is an irreverence to the fact that others are driving around you and also have places to go or be. I think I've only heard one car honking at another car maybe a handful of times since I've been here. Its weird. Its okay to be surprised haha. You have no idea how often this happens between us designers/architects and clients. Its just a fact that most people aren't able to see past their initial decisions or how they perceive things. I'm not special in that either I just know how what the impacts of certain design decisions will be or decisions generally in my work because its my field and what I know best. In my head that statement was always like...wow you think you won't have at-grade crossings...well give it a shot if you can, but I'm sure you probably will. You are right though and it hits home in how the design process works. Every client has a list of requirements. Some can be held too, some can't, and some can be compromised with. It used to be a high number and then probably after more compromises they were able to whittle that down to a number much few which is as close to keeping that promise as possible. If thats the best they can do in with the money, and time allowed then thats just how it has to be.
  9. Every state claims they have the worst motorists. Even people in Utah here say the traffic is bad, and the motorist are bad, but by far Utah has the best drivers, and lightest traffic I've seen. Do you want to know what are the craziest drivers? Arizona. Particularly Phoenix. That would be hilarious if they had crossing signs, but instead of people it was Ape's.
  10. You do understand we live in a different world right? Lets just say I know of an apartment job that recently got a bid price and the difference between what the original estimate was and what the actual bid price ended up being was somewhere around $40 million! Thats just a standard apartment project. Right now there are lead times for appliances and doors that extend for 6-12 months....months. If this was 2019 and those numbers ballooned then I would agree with you. Inflation and scarcity of materials/products is very real. Same goes with securing financing. Its only going to get more difficult for larger projects to secure private financing from banks as inflation grows and as liquidity shrinks. Again if this were 2019 you would be right to express concern, but the world has significantly changed since then. Time to update with it. Costs are skyrocketing, lead times are getting longer, budgets have become constrained because of rampant inflation. $24 billon is actually not that bad for a project this size. I'd suggest drastically lower your expectations in the future for things like this, but thats up to you. If this project can be built with loans from whatever the source is then that is good enough, and big projects take government loans all the time in particular big infrastructure projects. This also isn't just you, but I'm curious why everyone is so amazed that their are at-grade crossings? We have at grade crossings on every railroad in this country. Every country that I've been too that has HSR also has at some juncture at-grade crossings. There are points in planning where you will have to work with what you got. Planners, Architects, and Engineers don't have the luxury of working in absolute terms. I'm sure TCR really thought it was possible to have no at-grade crossings at all, but then you get into the planning/design stage, and that absolute meets reality and reality wins out every time. Does that mean TCR lied? No it means they had an expectation that couldn't be met by reality. It could be any number of things from the slope of the track across a certain distance, to the need for crews to access the track from at grade locations, to a change in geography/terrain, costs, local regulations, etc... These things aren't black and white and if viewed from that kind of perspective ones expectations will be meet with failure each and every time. But again thats for those interested in this or focused on this to decide for themselves. I'm just some dude in the design business after all.
  11. Its apparently based on a multitude of different factors. Could be plane size, day you purchase the ticket, ticket demand vs supply, whether that airline is operating close to a hub, the price of gas at anyone time, weekend vs weekday, day vs night, summer vs winter. Its nuts. Totally understandable why most airlines run algorithms to calculate up to date pricing. There are a bunch of videos on the topic. You should look into a channel called "Wendover Productions" on youtube. Dude loves talking about airlines. Really interesting topic. Its mostly from this person as well as a bunch of other content creators and other areas of research I started believing in HSR as a way to corner this particular market, as well as my own experience riding HSR / passenger rail in Europe.
  12. From the article regarding loans: Makes sense to me. By the way this happens all the time with developments. Most large scale projects are funded by loans such as these. The issue is where do you get the loan from. Most banks aren't going to put up the kind of money TCR needs. I'm not exactly 100% on board with the Infrastructure bill as is, but if the government is putting out a loan program which can be used as a mechanism to finance this then they should definitely take it as the government can either hold or sustain that kind of debt longer than a bank could. I was suspecting that they would have to ask the government for Revenue Bonds, which would then lead them to becoming part of the government, but if this is a way out and around that problem then so be it. This was Agular's statement regarding pricing: I'd imagine that the $153 would be if you scheduled a trip in advance probably a week to two weeks before. When I was living in Germany you could schedule a trip weeks in advance to make sure you were paying a lower price, but I'd imagine a same day ticket for this would be something around $300. This $150-$300 was the range for a train like this when I was in Germany, so this pricing is actually in line with what is typical for distance routes like this. What I hope for is if this gets built then that might motivate some other savvy individuals to construct "regional" routes which make more stops and take longer to reach your destination, but it will significantly cut the cost, so then you will have competition at different price levels with two different options. A slower train with more stops, but its cheaper ($75-100) and then the quicker option with less stops ($150-$300). Again thats what a hopeful future could be. Only time will tell.
  13. It happens a lot more than you think. The County has been pretty forward about the fact that they want more and more larger projects to handle all site runoff and water detention. Sites should do that anyway, but its started getting pretty ridiculous. Sometimes they can take up a massive portion of a site just to offset the footprint the building takes up. Its one reason many have resorted to underground detention, and simply build on top of it. What this has done is that its help the county and city catch up with their own infrastructure, but my hope is that the city and county can at some point create a more wholistic solution, so this cost isn't constantly thrown onto developers just like they do with parking requirements. Its one of those things where people are like...Houston doesn't have zone. Its true, but a few particular ordinances and regulations in effect substitute zone by putting developers in a box. Rainwater detention/retention is one of those, and parking is another.
  14. I don't know about you, but when I'm lounging next to swimming pool I love listening to the background noise of jackhammers, boring machines, and the rumblings of cement trucks. *sarcasm*
  15. I'm surprised nobody has either gone to the city or city official or planner hasn't seen that block of electrical substations and has said....you know what maybe its time we as a city move that to....i don't know maybe between Toyata and the US59? Maybe that would look better?
  16. This is a very worthy critique. I was actually surprised that they were able to breakdown the comments by region, out of region and unknown. Wasn't expecting any sort of transparency with that. If I were running things I would certainly have hired one who does polling on the daily, to not only construct a survey, but also could reveal with precision certain specifics. Right off the bat we should know neighborhood, distance from the highway, time spent on the highway daily, where do they typically get on and where they typically get off, and which option do they prefer. Even if people prefer the funding and project as is, that doesn't really say which option they prefer. You are absolutely right. This could be a lot more thorough, but as you said yourself this was historic turnout for a comment round, and any pollster regardless of precision of who is who would love to get 8000 comments for anything. I think it would have been nice to also highlight typical complaints, or typical mentions for why they support. That would have been nice to see. All this means though is that there is room for improvement in the future, and at the vary least while one may not like what TXDOT is doing or does at the very least its clear they are following a process, and are trying to be as transparent as they think they can or should be. Whether it should be more or less, or what can be improved can be adjusted for the next big project.
  17. Seems pretty definitive to me. Understandable if the support vs against was more even, but it was clear for a while that the objections and those giving TXDOT a "beating" were a very vocal minority. The best can hope for is that their concerns are mediated during revisions, and I would certainly like to see some opposition propositions put in place. I was always for the other redesign options instead of the typical TXDOT solution. Lets see what moves forward. Finally though this can start making headway and eventually get built.
  18. Hmmm interesting. Not a civil guy either, but it makes me wonder if this happens on more projects in Houston with deep foundations. I think in general people understand that the geological make up of the earth under Houston isn't exactly great, but most have no idea just how picky, sludgy, plastic-like, and expansive the clay soils are. Or how high the water table can be in most areas. I wonder if this is a way to do a foundation in lieu of pilings or bell piers, or maybe they have to do both in certain situations. Curious myself.
  19. What we are seeing wasn't the result of VE. This was a result of a change in design vision. Different approach. Probably a different team. If it takes you that long to build something they probably wanted to update for what works today, or what they feel like will work for today. Their original vision was pretty ambitious for the time, and was ahead of its time. I think this was either before City Centre or during the initial years of City Centre. This idea was pretty new to Houston, and to most investors in general. Now its a given that developers will do large PUD's as a long term investment given the success of City Centre among others. Thus far what Regent Square has built or is building is actually pretty good after struggling for this long. I like the plaza approach without completely redoing the grid. They obviously are trying to work within a tighter budget, and given constraints that they didn't think they had before. It happens. I would cut them some slack.
  20. You and me both. I know its cliché at this point, but the answer is....Covid, or I should say the economics of Covid. Not only did it completely disrupt my life, but it also realigned others priorities whom I had hoped would be able to assist. No ones fault really, just life happens. What @BeerNut says here is the truth. Moved to Utah when I found a job here after I picked up and left Houston. Currently the map is on indefinite hold, unless someone is willing to really dedicate time, and hit it hard. Its what this project deserves. Someone like a @Highrise Tower or an @Urbannizer , but both those guys already do so much for the forum already that I would like to hand this off to someone who will make this their contribution to the forum. If that can happen then I can take more of an overseer/consultant role for the project. I had big plans for it, but again life twists and turns in crazy ways.
  21. Will see. Richmond should be a great line because it hits a lot of key areas people want to or need to go. The Katy Corridor needs more time. If they were to extend it deeper into the suburbs later than it could work or when HSR is completed. There a few here in Utah like in Provo which seem to be a big success. I think another one is going up in Ogden at some point. I know SLC is looking into BRT for expansion efforts. LRT is still a better long term option, but ridership in general needs to increase in these cities to even begin the conversation of more rail at this point. Same goes for Houston.
  22. The only reason to do an upgrade would be if capacity exceeds the mode of transit. Its the only reason why I'm fine with this initially being BRT or future extensions to Houston transit being BRT. Its a great way of introducing transit while on a tight budget while at the same time you are introduce/reintroducing mass transit to population that previously rarely used it. We won't know the full effectiveness of this corridor until TCR finishes its HSR project.
  23. Your probably right. I mean I'm never one to pass anything to us Architects for what a Contractor does haha. From all the photos the Contractor has some real bonehead subs working this one. So I'm guessing the head on that door is like 12ft or something? Even if its a very tall door its not exactly a great idea to obstruct it in any situation even for aesthetics purposes.
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