The Uptown Green Shade Project
As one of three artists invited to submit a proposal for a site-specific shade structure, I created a design focused on bringing dappled shade, color, and a bit of joy to the existing hardscape within the park located in the Uptown Neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio. My design is inspired by the park’s native species plantings, the historic and quirky buildings in Toledo and the fields and skies of Northwest Ohio.
I walked around the landscaped area of the park as well as the surrounding streets and found that there are beautiful old trees on other properties providing puddles of intermittent shade as the wind moves through their leaves. It struck me that creating patterns of light that changed during the course of a day could bring a subtle sense of both time and life to the park. That became the goal, to create shade but to create shade with a continuously changing pattern. I really focused on light and changing patterns of light and the potential for the shade to be less dense and to create dancing light across the sheltered seating area.
Having visited the site at different times of day, I was struck by both the need for shade and the need to provide a central focus for the park. The old building in which the ProMedica Ebeid Center is housed, has a standing-stone presence that is enlivened by the mural that faces the park, but there is no answering structure within the park that anchors it against the sky and surrounding properties. At midday, the park is awash with over-bright sunshine making it unpleasant to linger. My design pulls together an anchoring shade structure with a lyrical use of color and form that complements the textures of the city’s old brick buildings, copper roofs and the hues of the park’s green grass, pink coneflowers, and duckweed in the rain garden.