I haven’t recently become enthralled with the subject of “placemaking”.

Placemaking (by my definition) is the practice of designing a physical space to instill a certain positive feeling when visiting.

This could include curating the senses of light, sound, smell.

Possibly the most important aspect of placemaking is first impressions, and for physically enclosed spaces that entails the entranceway.

I watched an apocryphal YouTube video about this subject months and months ago (so I won’t try finding it) but it used the word “portal” to describe entryways.

Portal is a great word–it is abstract and inclusive of entryways that have no physical gateway or threshold delineating what is inside and outside of the space.

As I often do these days, I now collect photos of interesting portals that I encounter in my life.

Here is a photo album collection of portals that I find pleasing.

Some cities have portals, like this one in Redwood City, California:

Redwood City Portal

Retail stores have clever placemaking, extending an invitation to amble into their space or linger out in front.

These two photos are from Abbot Kinney, in Los Angeles, California:

Storefront 1 Storefront 2

Offices can project the tenant’s size and importance and longevity–as a result signalling trustworthiness or power.

With massive glass surface area and doors that neither protrude or are recessed it neither aims to be welcoming or unwelcoming.

These photos are of Netflix’s offices in Los Angeles, California:

office 1 office 2

Transportation centers often have incredible portals–this is the downtown Berkeley station of Bay Area Rapid Transit, where you are literally ascending through a portal to street-level:

transit 6

Sometimes transit hubs are a mish-mash of portals & architectural styles.

This one is South Station in Boston, Massachusetts:

transit 4

It’s neighboring bus center is under-stated, but still feels like a significant point of embarking on far-flung adventures:

transit 4

Others are gaudy, beautifully modern portals to train platforms. This one is in Miami International Airport:

transit 4

Or this one in Melbourne, Victoria (Australia) that is alit at night and surrounded with pedestrian friendly bollards:

transit 4

Sometimes they are just plain boring, like this one in Sacramento, California:

transit 4

The residential home has many great portal styles.

My favorite is the green trellis:

trellis 4 trellis 4 trellis 4 trellis 4

Sometimes the portals don’t lead you into an enclosed building but serve as a tranquil space to pass:

trellis 4 trellis 4

Here are some more delightful retail portals:

trellis 4 trellis 4 trellis 4 trellis 4

I think that’s enough portal photos for now. Enjoy!

– Max

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