Friday, March 04, 2011

Flowers for an invisible hulk

The Chicago Flower & Garden Show opens on Saturday at Navy Pier, running through Sunday the 13th, and it includes a number of "unique feature" gardens that includes everything from Captain Bligh's notorious breadfruit trees, a "One Goal, One Garden" for a rabid Black Hawk's fan from Tony Butterworth of Christy Webber, and this proposal, from a  School of the Art Institute student design team under the direction of Odile Compagnon.  Garden #25 - Growing in a New Direction takes as its on-the-surface unpromising the electrical substation that stubbornly endures at 10 East Lake, between the Wit Hotel and Harold L. Washington college . . .
click images for larger view
. . . a large, barren court before a stripped-down neoclassic hulk, behind an unfriendly gate which you shouldn't chain your bike to.  It's so blank and receded, it's urban-invisible.  Hundreds - if not thousands - pass by it every day without seeing it. The SAIC students imagine a
garden climbing the walls up into the sun. Imagine dancing lights that showcase the architecture of surrounding buildings. And imagine all the lighting and irrigation powered by a wind turbine, by solar panels and by energy captured from the roaring passage of L trains. From walls of plants to a curtain of LED lights, from fescue and cyclamen to a neon lightning bolt, this garden suggests the lively ideas that erupt when artists, designers, schools, corporations, and industry put their heads together to create sustainable solutions for urban living.

hey, as Judy Tenuta might say, "It could happen!"  It would certainly provide a relief to glum substation's annual summer festival of pigeons.  There's no law that, just because you're in the shadow of the "L", you have to be dour and glum, as well.

More information on all the special gardens here.

I've never been to a Flower & Garden Show - maybe I should check this one out.  I, myself, like to press wild flowers, although, truth be told, no matter how hard I do, they usually still refuse to comment.  In any event, it's a sign that winter's long oppression is lifting, and that in just weeks we'll be seeing the likes of this again . . .


Anonymous said...

I always imagined 10 E Lake to be a mausoleum; with loop workers laid to rest there... anything would be an improvement though. But the talk of installing wind turbines in Chicago makes me cringe. I don't think that there is a single wind turbine in the Chicago vicinity that is actually working effectively. This is a discussion that needs to be made to avoid any more developers from installing this greenwashing ornament to their buildings.

charlotte smith said...

i love that space - reflecting pool in summer, mini ice rink in winter.