Adam Migliore Meyer

Class of 2012

Blog post, May 25, 2010

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We have built incredible spaces for thousands of years. So why not now? Why not continue?

This past semester I wrote a paper for my city planning class comparing and contrasting Grand Central Station with Penn Station in New York City. As it turns out, the former Penn Station (not the current embarrassment) was built with inspiration from the Roman Baths of Caracalla.

Being in Rome, I had to see these baths!

It is clear from the baths that we have built incredible spaces for thousands of years. So the question becomes: why not now? Why not continue? The current state of the baths in deterioration, or rather the return to nature, shows that our best designs for spaces are often inspired by nature. The entranceways between rooms are large expanses much like the arches formed by trees that have since grown up along the stone paths. And as I said in an earlier post, there is something intrinsically moving about tall structures. The brick baths have eroded and now look like mountains similar to those I saw in Zion National Park.

While it can be expensive to build tall stations, it seems that they are essential for creating that sense of awe—that is at least true for the Milano Centrale station here in Milan.

After touring the paths, I found it quite comfortable to lay in the grass and just pause. And staring at the mammoth walls I envisioned platforms, signs, and trains whisking by—all under a natural, divinely inspired space…