Eine Invertierung (Inverting)

2002 06 29
Solo Exhibition

Porscheplatz, Kunst am Bau
Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, DE

Concept
Within the area of the Porsche premises, the color scheme for the road surface will be inverted, i.e., the paving white, the road markings (arrows, stripes and lines, etc.) asphalt gray. This inversion alone produces a spontaneous special effect, calls for attention and concentration and turns an approach to the square into an experience accompanied by enhanced alertness.
The square and its surrounding roadway will be given a concentric striped pattern. The intervals between the stripes will grow narrower towards the center of the square, galvanizing the way both automobilists and pedestrians perceive things. You feel you are moving faster than you really are. While the pedestrians crossing the square are given the feeling they are walking unusually briskly, the drivers have the impression they are driving too fast and slow down as a result. This new, very subtle street paving throughout the company grounds will give anyone behind the wheel a changed, pleasantly tranquil and exclusive feel for the road.
The original elliptical shape of the square will be changed to a circle, since, on the one hand, this favors the desired dynamic effect and, on the other, allows the setup of an additional lane for left turns, optimizing the flow of traffic. The change to a circular plan for the middle of the square emphasizes its central character and the significance of the site.
The green areas, traffic islands and other components are to be left as are. This means that the concentric stripes starting from the center are transformed from a circular to an amoebic shape on their contact with the outer boundaries already in place.
The experience this aesthetic solution transmits is underlined by the fact that pedestrians and drivers will be given access to the entire area in alternate turns. At the workers’ change in shifts (6:00 - 6:10, 13:00 – 13:10, 13:45 – 14:00, as well as at 22:10 – 22:20), the traffic lights (at still to be determined intervals) will be programmed so that the automobile traffic is repeatedly brought to a standstill for a short time to allow pedestrians to cross the square in all directions.

Light
The curb of the slightly raised, inner roundabout can be encircled with green lights as a sign that the pedestrians pouring out of the factory may cross the square diagonally. The rest of the time the roundabout will be lit in red, indicating that the single pedestrian can, when the traffic lights allow, cross the streets in the usual way. For the driver, the lit-up island is an additional guideline, while at the same time it underlines the Porsche lettering on the factory façade and sets off the center of the square.
The overpass, the bridge of the conveyor belt on which car bodies are transported from shop floor to shop floor, could (in reference to the square’s center) also be brightly lit at night, in order to make productive output on the premises clearly visible as it moves along.

Traffic technology
The technological concept will remain almost untouched. By means of the horizontal stripes that follow in ever shorter intervals, at first thicker then thinner, the speed of incoming traffic will already be checked before reaching the junction. The lane markings will be easy to read from the driver’s seat and are not hindered by the horizontal stripes that allow a left-turn lane, made possible by turning the elliptical island into a circular one.

Realization
The surface material will be of fine-grained mastic asphalt, white and anthracite. The other installations will be retained. The transition from circular to amoebic-like lines must be exactly calculated on a computer and translated into reality.

Results
The result of the simple reversal of the color scheme is that Porsche Place is given a completely different look, a pattern of stripes developed for street traffic via perceptual psychology, while all its former traffic functions are retained. By the inversion of the markings and by the concentric enlargement of the square into the urban environs and into the through roads, both drivers and pedestrians will be given a new perceptual experience. Moving at different speeds, both groups of traffic participants will find that inflowing traffic is slowed and yet optimized by means of the added left-turn lane.
The lines radiating out from the middle of the square’s circle give it a streamlined flow, like water into which a stone has been cast. The islands of the factory’s blocks of buildings and plots of land form the square and deform the circle to an ellipse, or to an amoeba, a pattern that meanders around the streets and fades at the factory borders. At the point between amoeba and ellipse a fold is formed from a tight concentration of diagonally oriented lines that correspond to the future walkways.

The three-dimensional look of the ground-level delineation awakes the illusion that the lines reflect the topographical highs and lows of the terrain, bringing the street together with the vertical ensemble of buildings that are now (or will be) in place.
The concept for the Porscheplatz underlines how crucial are the square’s city-planning functions and makes the most important traffic junction in the northern industrial area of Stuttgart stand out. The pedestrians who cross the square diagonally and radially during the changes in shift enliven the scene, reflecting the rhythm of factory and production.
The aesthetic plan of inverting the color scheme (while taking the functional and process-oriented requirements of running the factory into account) highlights the extent of the complex and makes visible the central elements of Porsche’s corporate identity: form, function, dynamism and speed.

Represented works

Inverting