On a historical city hike with my friends (this time focusing on Amsterdam School architecture in the ‘South’ district of the city), we had to cross the Ferdinand Bolstraat. My eyes fixed on the high-rise building of the Okura hotel while we were discussing how it clashed with the fabulous Amsterdam School architecture surrounding it, suddenly my attention was drawn by something yellow in the corner of my eye.
So, I looked down and found one image fitting no less than three of my permanent themes: Look down!, Covered (see below) and Temporary Amsterdam (ditto). We use yellow road markings for temporary markings so they can easily be distinguished from the regular (white) ones – if you are not color blind that is: you might have trouble then – and there was indeed some building activity going on near there.
The yellow paint was slathered on quite thickly (unusual), and in the process the little ‘AVK’ cover (part of a ‘straatpot’: a surface box) had been covered completely in it, and somehow its label had also gone lost in the process. These little lids are used to cover access to various utilities such as water mains valves, gas, etc. and usually carry a (often color-coded) label in the rectangular slot to indicate whats accessible below (see examples here), or else a word imprinted in its surface – but neither is to be found here any more! When the works are done and they strip the yellow markings, they may have to replace the cover as well… Normally the color codes on these lids are yellow for gas, blue for water and red for fire prevention. (cf. Related below.)
Such is Amsterdam – always in the process of being redesigned and rebuilt. They’re always digging up roads somewhere as well. That’s what Temporary Amsterdam is about: all the temporary constructs, fences and signs needed to support, protect or draw attention to this activity.
Covered is about the covers that give (or deny) access to the world below our pavings, especially in our cities, and how they are placed in, or clash with, the pavement. At the very least these covers prevent us from tripping or falling into holes.
Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1
Featured on the Amsterdam Cultural Surfaces calendar: