Historically, the signal box, or the switch tower, has been a crucial piece of railway infrastructure, guiding railcars at these junctions to their designated lines. These prosthetic armatures were manually operated logistical nodes in the heyday of railway commuting. As technology progressed, electric operation of the railway network was made possible through electronic control, allowing for larger and more centralized signaling nodes. It therefore quickly made the existing signal boxes defunct and a relic of an analog past.
With the absence of the railway along Atlanta’s Beltline, the proposal of the Signal Box is a mnemonic tower that recalls an important, economic thoroughfare of an historic era. As part of the city’s strategy to reassert the presence of the beltline through proposals of urban renewal, the Signal Box stands- first, as an object representing global imperatives, and second, as a space for contemplation on the Beltline’s history and remediated future.
This proposal calls for an extruded 10’x10’ footprint shrouded in green construction mesh. Primarily used to contain debris on construction sites, it is ubiquitous in the eastern face of the world, where hyper-economic activities are reasserted in the building boom and vast modernization of cities. It ‘signals’ fastness in a global culture (with resistance from the locavore movement) where fast is only relative in cross-cultural currents.
Ubiquitous yet foreign, the displacement of the green construction mesh points towards new engagements and simultaneous understanding of current architectural practices. The modern day signal box is insulated from its environment through the use of the Faraday cage, effectively blocking out electronic signals that may interfere with the electronic controls inside. As such, this installation propagates a figurative space for contemplation, a signal box that positions contextual narratives with material viscera.