Human Stops | Wei Chen

This is my project ” Human Stops”, an intervention on city signage to show a few ways of filtering out interesting moments in the city life.

Everyone is living this repetitive life day after day, with their eyes either looking forward to their destination, or down on their phones. Even when we stop to wait, like in bus stops, stoplights, we don’t really stop to just wait. We get impatient and bored because we don’t know how to be still.  Even sidewalks are regarded as liminal spaces that is used to get from point A to point B, instead of stops used to set free our eyes and minds.

Eduwik Architecture Excellence Awards 2022 (Students)
Second Award | Urban Design

Project Name:Human Stops
Project Category:Urban Design

Studio Name:Wei Chen
Design Team:Wei Chen
Area:New York
Location:New York
Consultants: None
Photography Credits: None
Other Credits: None

Human Stops | Wei Chen - Sheet3
©Wei Chen

Our commuting walks are saturated with signs, signs for cars, for bikes. They tell us where to go or where not to go. What if the sign posts and signage carries suggestions of where and what to see? I have four different method including shifting scenery, shifting pace shifting angle and shifting focus.

I started with shifting angle and focus of seeing. You might be taking this same route to work everyday, but never noticed these surprising details around you. So I ideated on a view finder that points pedestrian to different details around the built environment. By rolling and folding, the boring rectangles creates a playful viewfinder for people to look through. Their shapes would adapt to the objects that they are framing.

Human Stops | Wei Chen - Sheet4
©Wei Chen

Following this idea, I took a closer look at the sign post itself and decided to use the existing mounting holes on the post. What if they are used as a peephole to provide a different threshold of seeing.  I used a simple change of color with signs of indication to attract attention, they simply wraps around the sign post and emphasize on one of the mounting holes They can move up and down to provide different perspective.

Shifting scenery can be done by simply taking a left turn instead of taking the regular straight route you take everyday. The grid system of New York City provides endless possibility of reaching somewhere. So I place the signage at corners of streets to suggest consideration of a different route. By visually bending the sign post into a question mark, it asks the pedestrian what would they see if they take a right turn here. By splitting the conventional “one way” signs to point at two direction and say more than one way.

Human Stops | Wei Chen - Sheet5
©Wei Chen

Shifting the speed of walking is another point of focus. These are the four consecutive signposts on the same block. What if They can becomes speed bumps for pedestrians. The word slow is spelled out over four consecutive sign posts. When people walk too fast, the flashing letters register in their minds as the word”Slow”, while people who walk slow just see separated letters.

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