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2002 Award Winners
Press Releases
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Honor Award -- Design

Markings
San Jose, California

Hargreaves Associates

Lauren Mitchell
Associate, Hargreaves Associates
2020 17th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tel: 415-865-1811
Fax: 415-865-1810
lmitchell@hargreaves.com

The intersection of I-280/Rt. 87 is a complex junction of landscape and infrastructure - sun, shade, roads, water, sound, cars, and pedestrians. To most it is a forbidding, yet somehow common landscape. This temporary installation commissioned by the client exposed this landscape to investigation by setting up a contrast between its modern and archaic states through markings on the site.

The twenty-four pylons that support the road deck were painted with reflective sliver paint to catch the light and render the massive pylons. The landscape architect worked with a Native American artist, who devised a word scheme in Karuk and English that recalls concepts common to Native American and modern cultures. The words were applied to the pylons - Native American words face the river, and the English translations face the street. Between the road decks a five hundred foot long landform allows one to view the word scheme at eye level.

The landform functions as a signifier of profound change on the site. It is a simple abstract expression of the gap between the road decks above. With its presence, latent qualities of the familiar space are accentuated. It is broad and straight, so the long view to the river is given emphasis and thrust. It is low and massive so that it brings scale to the pylons and their immense visual weight. It is made of shaped earth, so the smooth surfaces of the infrastructure are brought into contrast. The landform and words are like nothing else in this modern realm, and together they create the suspicion that the place has a purpose. Is it a carrier of ancient wisdom? A monument? Is it a place for reverence?

The exhibition goal was to encourage the public to take the time to see landscape that is culturally invisible. The curators set up the exhibition to instigate a "pilgrimage" to landscape installations throughout the Bay Area that revealed forgotten and left over places. Markings took an ordinary and common space and invited the public to review it with fresh eyes. This project is successful because it engaged its visitors and evoked new thought about an otherwise common place.

Design teams were provided with a budget of $15,000 for design and construction. The installation was open to the public for six months. The landscape architects were the design lead for the entire installation. Because of the budgetary constraints the landscape architects role also included site selection, permitting, fund raising, promotion and some of the construction.

Client Statement: The exhibition goal was to encourage the public to take the time to see landscape that is culturally invisible. As curators we set up the exhibition to instigate a "pilgrimage" to landscape installations throughout the Bay Area that revealed forgotten and left over places. Markings took an ordinary and common place and invited the public to see it with fresh eyes. With minimal means this project revealed to the general public a landscape that largely goes unnoticed through an interpretation of its current and previous culture. This project is successful because it engaged its visitors and evoked new thought about an otherwise common place.

2002 Award Winners
Press Releases
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