We explore the public realm: how a string of parks gained landmark status, how an exhibition re-thinks a downtown, and how landscape reconsiders environments both natural and man-made.
Claude Cormier + Associates imbues urban environments with concept. Remediating a 40-acre brownfield, Cormier tells how the design of a heritage site considered the flow of multiple systems: from wildlife to water, to vehicular mobility patterns to trains, and even electricity. We hear about an interior garden of 100-year-old maple trunks cast in concrete, why urban beaches are inclusive, and why beaches aren’t like parks.
Hear Claude Cormier at Design Matters on Dec 4th.
Next we look at architecture as possibility provocateur. In Medicine Hat, an exhibition called Thinking Hat revealed all kinds of new deign ideas for filling empty lots and unused downtown buildings. Created by SPECTACLE Bureau for Architecture and Urbanism, in collaboration with photographer Luke Fandrich, the exhibition filled a 1911 former furniture company building with ideas. Philip Vandermey describes an indie corner office for the start-up culture, parks for stopping and staying in, and mixed-use conceptual ideas. Each idea envisions a more social and culturally synched downtown.
Finally, Randy Gragg guides us through Portland’s Open-Space Sequence, a series of four urban parks designed by landscape architect Lawrence Halprin. It was a politically challenging time in the U.S. when the fourth fountain opened in 1970. At the dedication, Mr. Halprin stated, “As you play in this garden, please remember that we’re all in this together.” He proceeded to jump into the fountain, dissipating the tension. The sequence has gained landmark status and we hear about further conservation efforts for these nearly 50-year-old public realm gems.