Wednesday, October 21, 2015

back to the future [21 years ago]

back to the future, and it's sequels, are without a doubt, my all-time, desert island, favorite movies.  i watched them constantly as a kid, and still do.  it is the reason i'm infatuated with the idea of time travel.  if you ever catch me starring blankly into space, chances are i'm thinking about traveling through the space time continuum.  wanting to see first hand what the past was like, or curious to what surprises the future holds.

it's no surprise on the eve of the red letter, "back to the future 2" date of october 21, 2015, a day i've waited for most of my life, i am in fact thinking about time travel.

i've been picturing myself as a kid wondering what i thought 2015 would be like. would we really have hover boards?  would i come home to a house full of kids and rehydrate a pizza for dinner?  as i pondered all this, i was reminded, as a kid, i had in fact sat down at our family computer and drawn what i thought the future would look like.  surely however this drawing no longer existed, being lost to time. there was no way was it still around.

however, curiosity got the best of me and i had to check.

being the treasure trove my parents are of everything my sister and ever i did, i called them up to see if they still had the file somewhere.  with a couple of mouse clicks and a few folder searches, my dad actually found it!  an e-mail was sent and with the future being what it is, i was able to view my vision of the future!

in all it's "mac-paint" 8-bit glory, originally created on october 15, 1994,  i bring you a 13 year olds vision of wichita in 2020!

i remember the whole point of this drawing was to show how "cool" i thought it would be if the mall moved downtown.  as pleased as i was to see how forward thinking i was to place retail back in the downtown core, there are a few things i have to laugh at.

i'm glad to see i placed this mall to the south of the epic center and the old courthouse tower, a location that's actually not too terrible. however i'm shocked at the large "heat island" of a parking lot i drew to go with it.  the naive and suburban 13 year old me was unfamiliar with public transit or parking garages for that matter. i do, however, enjoy the bubbly shape of the cars and the exotic paint jobs. also props to me for showing lush landscaping and fountains. maybe not the best option for a urban setting, but it's cute.

next, sears is a interesting choice for a tenant to highlight.  i wish i would have had something a tad higher end, such as a nordstroms or macy's, but give me a break. i was 13, sears was all i knew!  you could get everything you needed there; tools, mowers, pants, shirts, refrigerators, underwear! it was a fascinating place to shop as a kid!

looking at the overall design of the mall, the architect in me is cringing at the fact i decided to go with a post-modern look, complete with symmetry, classical columns and geometric pediments, but hey, it was the 90's! it's nice to see i was thinking about vertical circulation, and expressed the elevator shafts.  i did however fail a little on the ada accessibility, making people walk up a serious flight of stairs before entering.

looking at other parts of the drawing it appears i thought wichita would get it's own "space needle." no doubt a blatant rip off of the "tower of americas" i had visited earlier that year in san antonio, but still a nice addition to the skyline.  it also shows i felt aviation would still be important and gave boeing it's own downtown building. although that's not the case now, airbus did in-fact occupy several buildings downtown.  also being a 13 year old boy, i had to throw in a b2 bomber, since it was the "sweetest"  plane i had seen in my life to that point.

graphically, there's a whole other story to be told and evaluated, but i didn't grow up to be a graphic designer so i won't even start on my font choice.

overall this drawing fascinates me because of the youthful optimism i had for wichita.  although the future of 2015 isn't exactly like "back to the future" or my computer drawing predicted, they're not that far off either.  both emphasized a greater importance on the city core.  wichita is experiencing a growth in downtown development that will only continue into 2020.  we may not get a "space needle" but larger residential buildings are constantly going up, which will in turn bring in more retail...maybe not sears, but hopefully some smaller local shops or at the very least, a grocery store.

there's no way the 13 year old me  could have ever guessed the 2015 version of himself would be working as a architect on several projects just a few block from where this drawing was located, but that's what makes imagining the future so enjoyable! you can't predict it!

with that said....

wichita 2020! lets get that space needle!

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