a Forest City again - urban forest

Submitted by Susan Miller on Thu, 04/10/2008 - 16:02.

We're getting a new park in Cleveland. It is being prepared at East 9th and Lakeside across from City Hall and adjacent to the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building - a General Services Administration Building.

It'll be a Plaza WITH TREES - LOTS OF THEM. The site will be designed by Richard Fleischman Architects with artist Pae White.

"Successful plazas have 4 key qualities: They are accessible, people are engaged in activities there, the space is comfortable and has a good image, it is a sociable place: one where people meet each other and take people when they come to visit." AND THEY HAVE TREES - A LOT OF THEM.

And there are a lot of questions to answer: "Can you see the space from a distance?

Is there a good connection between the space and the adjacant buildings or is it surrounded by blank walls? Do sidewalks lead to and from the adjacent areas? Does the space function for people with special needs? Do the roads and paths through the space take people where they actually want to go? Are people using the space or is it empty?

Is it used by people of different ages? Are people in groups? How many different types of activity are occurring-people walking, eating, playing chess, relaxing, reading? Which parts of the space are used and which are not? Are there choices of things to do? Is there a management presence, or can you identify that anyone is in charge of the space? Is it clean, safe and is there a place to sit? Does it make a good first impression? Who is responsible for maintenance? What do they do and when? Does the area feel safe? Is there a security presence? What do these people do and when are they on duty? Are there photo opportunities?" ARE THERE TREES?

They looked at topography, shadow during all times of day throughout the year, wind speed and its effect on pedestrians, and they came up after several iterations with this leaf concept.

And they hired artist Pae White to design some art for the space.

Pae White's considerations:

  • Playing off the idea of an urban forest
  • Using the motif of an animal whose locomotion relies on the wind (Maybe she was here during the Canadian soldier invasion, too...)

  • Foregrounding the delicate, but strong aspects of nature
  • A pattern sampler of wing structure scenarios
  • Capturing something elusive and spreading it through a part of the landscape
  • Whimsical reference of predator and prey reversed
  • Inserting a piece of furniture, specifically an antique, into the landscape to create spaces
  • Examining something micro and exploding the scale for further investigation
  • Red as a way of enhancing the green in the landscape (Plus it will compliment the Free Stamp at Willard Park across the street)

I like the screens OK from these pictures/renderings. But what I really think is cool is the large gathering of TREES. I love a canopy!

I'll be posting more about urban forests in Cleveland cause we've got a bigger urban forest coming. For now around a hundred TREES across from Cleveland City Hall should help the city substantially, particularly when "Forest City" has taken on a different tone. One day perhaps Cleveland can become the Forest City again. Without the slightly bitter taste taste. We'll still have the breeze, and we'll probably still have the A. J. Celebrezze Federal Building. But what a way to celebrate the breeze off the lake - under TREES...


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Pae White's screens arrive

Steve Litt reports that Pae White 'Bug Screen' is an outstanding addition to Cleveland's collection of outdoor art

artist Pae White

photo by Steve Litt of Pae White with her "bug screens" in Fleishman's new plaza at the Celebreeze Building.