Anyone in the habit of leaving the house knows that Houstonâ€™s streets are really best appreciated from a distance. And although heâ€™s not a native, Seattle artist Peter Gorman appears to agree. His recent work, â€œIntersections of Houston,â€ shown above, is a series of 20 mini-maps depicting some of the cityâ€™s most notably tangled roadway crossings. Some — like the nexus of Scott, Polk, York, and Clay streets (top row, second from the left) — take shape at the borders between Houstonâ€™s multiple, incongruous street grids. (The Allen brothers laid out the oldest grid parallel and perpendicular to Buffalo Bayou; later planners favored a more north-south orientation. In both cases, the resulting frameworks are some of the longest-lived legacies of the city. Weâ€™ve been stuck with them far longer than most of the buildings they contain.)
Others meander to get around park space: See Lamar, Crawford, and Dallas (third row, third from the left). And then thereâ€™s that special subset: intersections that do less to fit into their surroundings than they do to stand out as products of intrepid traffic engineering approaches. Take Lockwood Dr. and Wallisville Rd. (fourth row, third from the lift) for instance; itâ€™s really just a claw-like take on a T-intersection.
Gorman creates similar artwork depicting other cities as well â€” theyâ€™re part of a series he calls Barely Maps. He plans to assemble them all into a book to be released, he hopes, by next Christmas.
- Barely Maps [Etsy]
Image: Peter Gorman