click images for larger viewIf you had never been in the place before, no doubt it would strike you as professional and pleasant. Then why, when I first saw it about a week ago, did my heart sink into my stomach? Because I was expecting this . . .
Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects for the Trump Tower riverwalk, a rich, complex composition of native plantings that was a delight, as I've written before, even in the winter's snow.
Blair Kamin's report, when Peter Schaudt first saw what had befallen his design "I was aghast. My mouth dropped." Which was pretty much my reaction when I saw the workers from McFarlane Douglass destroying Schaudt's work, for this . . .
Daniel Weinbach and Partners were called in to replace him. Weinbach is certainly capable of fine work.The firm's tall-treed plaza for One South Dearborn is one my favorite new public spaces. Apparently, however, all Trump management was asking for was something comfortably generic, lots of the kinds of plants that people are used to seeing everywhere else, lots of evergreens that show no signs of decay, no winter's death, a kind of landscaping botox that turns the wonder of nature into a denial of the seasons.
If you've been around for a while, it shouldn't be a surprise, but it still shocks: aim low, and you can live forever. Create magic and be prepared to watch it snuffed out impatiently, as if it were a disease. Yet for all who experienced and loved it, Schaudt's landscape will endure clean and bracing in our memories, even as its replacement is forgotten the moment you walk past it.