Local drink inspires student bus stop design

By C.J. Conklin

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Fifth year architecture student Aaron Scales found it in a soft drink.

Ale-8-One inspired Scales’ to design a bus stop that combined art with transportation and regional identity. The design won a recent community competition.

Scales considered tons of possibilities when he began constructing a model for a bus shelter design competition sponsored by Art In Motion, an organization that enhances public spaces and public transportation in Lexington by incorporating sculpture and art into bus shelters.

After seeing the current bus stop the winner would build on, located on Versailles Road, the bottle idea just came to him, he said.

“My original design was modern, but the site was very dirty,” said Scales, who spent about one week working on the design. “I used Ale-8-One bottles because I wanted to make the design out of trash, that way it could relate to bus users and not just the architecturally elite.”

The competition, held in July, asked students and professionals in the fields of architecture, sculpture, art and engineering to design a bus stop for the east-bound LexTran bus.

The company asked participants to design a bus stop that would be an ideal place to wait for a bus. The shelter should be inviting and encourage ridership for the city’s public transportation system, according to the Art In Motion Web site.

Using only the soda bottles made the design constrictive, especially because of the limited number of ways a soda bottle can be displayed. But the constrictions also made the design more simplistic, Scales said.

He chose Ale-8-One bottles because of the company’s regional connection. The product is manufactured in Winchester, Ky.

Three finalists were chosen from 17 submitted entries and each finalist interviewed with a professional committee made up of engineers and architects from around Lexington. The committee considered who would fabricate the bus stop, how much the shelter would cost to construct and what materials would be used before selecting a winner, Scales said.

The professional committee awarded Scales first place and $2,500, but he won’t officially receive his award until Sept. 14 when a selection committee verifies the contest’s results. He beat out a professional sculptor from Lexington (2nd place) and two recent graduates of the UK architecture school (3rd place).

Once officially selected as the contest winner, Scales said he will begin working with a professional architect to build a shelter based on his model. Art In Motion will give Scales a budget of $10,000 to purchase materials and pay for the cost of construction.

This is not Scales’ first time competing in an architecture competition. Last spring, he designed a model for a bus stop on the corner of Rose Street and Euclid Avenue.

He constructed the design out of recyclable aluminum panels with bamboo sticks on the inside to construct the walls.

Scales earned second place for that design in two UK sponsored architecture contests including the annual Oswald Research and Creativity Competition that showcases undergraduate scholars.

The Ale-8-One bus shelter will be installed Oct. 30, according to the Web site.