Concrete has been used as a paving surface for more than a century. Within that long history, many different finishes, colors, and patterns have been employed to make the paving more stylized and distinctive. Unfortunately in many communities, the breadth and depth of concrete’s versatility is put aside in favor of functional needs or just plain simplicity. Some could argue that the casual patron of a downtown is not concerned with the aesthetic of the sidewalk. But rather, only its function. As long as the sidewalk is smooth, wide, and clear of obstructions, there is no problem.
That sentiment is generally true. But when there is something unique about the sidewalk, it only stands to amplify the experience. The best example may be Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame. It’s just a sidewalk with one minor exception – a series of terrazzo stars with the names and signatures of film and TV stars.
Walk the sidewalks in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh and you won’t see stars. You will see another unique shape that makes the sidewalk rise above its neighbors. Alternating along their business district sidewalks are segments scored in a honeycomb pattern. All at once the pattern is attractive and functional. This hexagonal shape is unlike any concrete walk you are used to seeing in downtowns. And where work has occurred and patching is necessary, the angular lines allow for easy incorporation of the patch, thereby accentuating the pattern and creating more visual interest.
Have you started your own boards for collecting downtown images, ideas, and inspiration? Now may be a great time to start and we know where you can find some images for your collection – here!