[Editor's note: It's Labor Day, so your devoted Flavorwire team is taking a break. To keep you entertained, we're leaving you with our most popular features of the summer months. This post originally ran August 13th.] The Storefront for Art & Architecture, our favorite Little Italy-adjacent nonprofit organization, has organized a photo exhibition exploring the post-Olympic city. Answering the question, what happens to a city after the Olympics are gone, the show features The Olympic City project, an ongoing collaboration between photographer Jon Pack and indie filmmaker Gary Hustwit of Helvetica design docu fame.
As the show’s catalog states, “some former Olympic sites are retrofitted and used in ways that belie their grand beginnings; turned into prisons, housing, malls, gyms, churches. Others sit unused for decades and become tragic time capsules.” We’re as horrified as we are fascinated by the fact that billions of dollars are spent every two years only to see such a sad — sometimes bizarre — fate. From abandoned Olympic villages to crumbling public art commissions, click through to check out the very best of Olympic ruin porn. Then let us know in the comments what you think about such a temporary extravagance. Should cities re-think the Olympics? Will London’s flashy stadiums look like this one day?
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The Storefront for Art and Architecture is on the ground floor of a corner building in NoLIta, open to the sidewalk with a system of cantilevered walls and awning windows. The mission of the architecture boutique is echoed in its very design, more accessible to citizens than the (unoccupied) glass residential towers reaching to the sky throughout the rest of the city. Considering it’s taken this long to resurrect The High Line, it’s mind-boggling to think of urban planning on the scale proposed by the architects and designers represented in Storefront’s current exhibition Work AC: 49 Cities.
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It’s twelve o’clock in the afternoon in sunny L.A., and you’ve got a plane to catch to Barcelona in four hours. The taxi arrives at your Cahuenga Boulevard split-level on the spot of half past; you lump your luggage into the trunk, toss yourself into the backseat, and settle in for the short hop downtown to Union Station. No, you’re not headed to LAX. Your flight departs at 5 p.m., Mountain Standard Time, from Skyharbor International Airport — in Phoenix.
In a high-concept scheme for the future of air travel from architects Thom Moran and Rustam Mehta, you could make your connection in a flash by way of a magnetic levitation train, checking-in onboard and alighting directly at your terminal. The LA-Phoenix link would be complimented by a Las Vegas spur, making up a vast regional transportation network that would reduce congestion system-wide. And where the three lines meet, Mehta and Moran imagine an enormous city straddling the shared border of California, Nevada, and Arizona, a transit metropolis planned on an irregular grid running along as well as on top of the tracks.
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