Aerial Arts: Defense Discourses, Cartographic Critiques opens Friday, October 11th at Studio-X NYC.
As landscape architects, we have largely inherited the regionalist and realist use of aerial cartography, whether as McHarg-ian underlays or GIS and Google Earth rasters. Instead of dismissing those maps, this show excavates the original, cultural context of post-war aerial imagery, its forgotten geographies and distant debates.
Just to the north of downtown Seattle, a complicated 9-acre site of railroad and auto infrastructure obscured public access to the waterfront for much of the latter 20th century; the brownfield site, formerly occupied by the oil and gas corporation Unocal, was not the picture of an ideal land parcel for building a sculpture museum or public park.
And yet, then it was. In 2007, the realization of an urban competition to recreate the former industrial site into an urban outdoor sculpture park was complete. The architects (and competition winners) Weiss-Manfredi created a vision and a park to connect the urban fabric, weave over-and-under existing infrastructure, and create a site to house a collection of gorgeous sculpture installations both indoors and out-of-doors. To see the project in more detail, check out the designer’s website, details on the Seattle Art Museum site, or the Wikipedia entry.
Here are photos from a recent trip to the now-known Olympic Sculpture Park, on a beautiful sunny day in Seattle (I have been told these days are rare, but it was gorgeous while I explored the park). The site is just a couple of blocks north of the main downtown area and Pike’s Place Market, and worth a walk over.