During a trip to the United States I found myself in a huge indoor shopping mall in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. Despite the early hour the mall was open but the stores inside were still closed, save for the inevitable Starbucks. I notice a sporty looking, middle aged couple walking by and they seem to be in a hurry. More elderly people pass me by with a determined look on their faces. As it turns out I’m dealing with ‘mall walkers’.
In a country were the car is king, this group of usually middle aged or elderly people use shopping malls to get their daily dose of exercise. Five days a week, they drive their cars to the mall and take a brisk walk in a completely conditioned environment. Heat, rain and cold do not exist. Bathrooms are readily available and the entire experience is serenaded by a bland mix of elevator music accompanying the walkers through the mall’s endless corridors. For me, taking a walk is something you do outside, preferably in a park or a forest. These people seem perfectly content and have completely reinvented the concept of taking a walk. After having talked with some of the seniors, it turns out that avoiding unpleasant weather conditions is just one of the many reasons behind their chosen activity. Security seems to be the most consistent reason. They feel unsafe outdoors, even during the day. Also, the lack of thought given to city planning in the 70’s has created suburban layouts that completely cater to cars, offering literally no possibility for walking or biking.
Tall buildings can deflect high-level wind down towards the ground, producing unpleasant and sometimes dangerous winds in adjoining pedestrian areas. Architects, planners and developers must aim, but often fail, to provide safe and comfortable conditions in public areas; they should, therefore, incorporate in their plans the wind flows around buildings and how to control it using intelligent design.
This series makes an effort to show that, too often, the end users of the public domain are not taken into account when it comes to the design of buildings.
Construct is a series commissioned by Rendeco were I was given complete artistic freedom to work on an alternative way to help position this construction company. I went on site with my camera assuming I could easily take portraits of the workers on the job. However, it took a considderable amount of time to get their trust. In the meantime I tried wandering the jobsites inconspicuously and take the ocassional shot without the workers being aware. This resulted in a number of, so called, faceless portraits. By the time I did get the workers’ trust I had found my angle and continued photographing in this slightly voyeuristic style.