It was a cold and rainy day in December…
Construction is complete! A colorful 32-foot sculpture at the corner of Brambleton Avenue and Yarmouth Street, and just across from the York Street light rail stop, will announce Norfolk’s rich art culture, directing attention to the Chrysler Museum of Art and the adjacent NEON Arts District. The location will raise awareness of Norfolk arts to thousands of people passing daily through this busy corridor.
From a conversation with Artist Tommy Fox
“I honestly can’t anticipate what people might take away from the viewing the piece, but generally I hope it makes them happy. I also hope it engages the realization of a middle ground between pure realism (classical statuary) and pure abstraction (rusty steel I-beams welded at right angles). Somewhere between there is a lot of playfulness and room for material exploration. I would like the viewer to simultaneously think, ‘I could have thought of that,’ and ‘I have no idea how they built that thing.’ There is no right or wrong way to engage with it.”
See the blog post written by Thom White on the Chrysler Museum’s Torch: Stories from the Chrysler blog.
WPA is proud to announce that Jeremy S. Maloney has founded Altruistic Design in Virginia Beach. In keeping with his mission, Jeremy has built Altruistic Design on a platform of socially responsible architecture. If you’ve worked with Jeremy before, you know that he loves all parts of the design process from finding the perfect project fit, to programming, design, detailing, and contract administration. We will miss seeing Jeremy in our office every day, but are happy that we will continue to collaborate on our existing projects. We know that by expanding the choice in great design firms in this area, we can build a better connection between the NEON District, the Vibe District, and the region as a whole. Please send Jeremy your congratulations!
The following is a list of features being contemplated, as shown in the renderings:
Paved pathways connecting the surrounding sidewalks and streets to the existing paved concrete pad to remain in place.
Landscaping within the areas of soil on site: grass or stable groundcover, trees, and shaping of the land (rain gardens, swales, berms, etc.).
Planters: both stationary and mobile. The purpose of these are to extend the greenspace from the south edge deeper onto the site, and to help designate the boundaries of the various activity spaces.
Stage Platform: this is shown with multiple tiers, serving multiple uses including: 1) A platform for performances; 2) amphitheater for watching activity within the Park; 3) a resilient element for play/recreation (can handle wear and tear from skateboarding and other high intensity activities).
Shade Structure: over the stage platform. This will make the platform usable rain or shine. There is a potential for the shade structure to incorporate rigging for lighting, projection screen, speakers, or other performance-related equipment.
Shipping Containers: the two 20’ containers currently at the PLOT can be re-used and modified for new purposes (vending, storage, etc.). A new 40’ container can be added to span above the 20’ containers to provide a surface for graphics and to make a shaded space below. The walls of the containers become surfaces for vertical gardens and graphics (like a neon ‘NEON’ sign!).
Benches: these would be made of solid concrete with reinforced edges for durability. They would accommodate a range of activities including seating, market stalls, and skateboarding.
Playground Area: to include play equipment on an appropriate play surface. The play equipment could be in the form of public art, similar to “Upper Blush”, the sculpture by Matthew Geller that was recently installed on site.
Basketball Area: a resilient hoop, backboard, and pole, with striping painted on the ground. Depending on the location, a fence element might be necessary to help prevent balls from leaving the site and becoming a hazard.
Lighting: the light poles from PLOT I could be re-used and new lighting could be implemented as needed. It will be beneficial to have power at the Stage Platform and also at the Containers.
Painting and Scoring: the concrete surface presents a good opportunity painting or scoring to help emphasize the diagonal paths and/or the division of the site into activity areas. The scoring may help with drainage – to provide a path for water to migrate toward the landscaped areas. During the charrette it was discussed that some game surfaces would be nice on the paving: chess, hopscotch, bocce, etc.
Public Art: the west wall of the adjacent building is a perfect place for a large commissioned mural. Also, places within the park can be dedicated for additional sculptures. Artworks that promote participation, interaction, and play should be favored.
Miscellaneous Park Equipment: Tables and chairs, play equipment, signage, water source for irrigation, etc.
WPA led a well-attended public design charrette to determine the future use of the Cofer Lot in the NEON District at the Hurrah Players’ Copeland Center on September 19th.
The Cofer Lot, at the location of a demolished former auto dealership, is poised to be designated as much-needed open space in the District positioned in a perfect spot on West Olney Road midway between the offerings on Granby Street and the Chrysler Museum.
Some charrette participants suggested a public art space with opportunities for sculpture and performance art. Others desired a tranquil green oasis welcome to all, perhaps with a playground for small children. Voices for the skateboarding community advocated for a safe and welcoming place for sport. The challenge is to accommodate multiple uses in a small footprint, and participants seemed open to discussion and compromise.
TONIGHT: The results of the Charrette and next steps for the site will be presented at this month’s NEON District Committee Meeting, at the Push Comedy Theater in the NEON at 5:30 pm. 763 Granby Street, Norfolk.