Friday, 4 April 2008

subway shenanigans

To change or not to change? Toronto subway station heritage is being threatened. The 69 stations are stylistically linked with symmetric alternating tile colors, but the TTC recently decided to allow changes to 64 of those stations. Some renovations are already underway, including those at Museum station (before, above; after, below).

Some Torontonians are upset that "Museum station, a tidy, intact model of TTC subway design that will be tarted up with Egyptian caryatids."

I have to disagree. What "tarts up" the TTC are ads (revenues from which by the way cover less than 5% of operating costs).

The original subway design (minus the ads) had two virtues: simplicity and homogeneity. The design had little visual clutter and added visual cues (standard fonts and a colored band corresponding to the subway line) to help passengers orient themselves.

As long as the new designs tie in to their geographic surroundings--as the Museum Station redesign does--I see it as an improvement.

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