maybe you're not familiar with what i mean when i say "architectural rendering." they are drawings that architects make to allow the general public, or clients who need to be sold on an idea, to imagine the future new building, or urban public space, and how it might be used. sometimes they are straight up drawings, or water colors. they include trees, and landscaping, and people inhabiting and interacting with the space.
this is actually one of the renderings for the b-line trail.
when i was in school, we would make slick hybrid drawings, using photos of the existing site, insert a drawing or computer rendering of our designed intervention, and then we'd stick in some scaled figures (referred to, lovingly, as scalies) which were usually cut out of magazines, scanned, and then reduced to the scale of the drawing.
from a project i did with bill rankin-- in nice, france
we would choose figures in action poses-- skateboarding, riding a bike, pushing a stroller, jogging--or a group of youth, gossiping on park benches. sometimes we'd pose people in the studio, doing specific actions related to our project, and use photos of our own for scaled figures.
in any case, the drawings are always idealized notions of what this thing is going to be, who will be using it, and in what manner. well, this week i had the bizarre experience of riding down bloomington's b-line trail, from city hall/showers plaza, to where it ends on second street, near kroger, and seeing an architectural rendering of the B-line trail, turned into 3D, real-time, lived space. and, i was IN IT.
this was taken on another day, but you can see what i mean
there were people jogging with ipods, pushing baby carriages, skateboarding, bike riding, studying historical markers. youth were gathered on park benches, smoking cigarettes, and texting. some guys were playing hackey-sack, dogs were being walked, couples were stolling, holding hands, or talking intimately on a bench, under a shade tree. i saw a guy carrying four kroger bags, full of groceries. the trail was being used for actual transportation, as well as recreation, leisure and fitness.
the weather was perfect, and i was capping off a rather idyllic day of community involvement. i'd started the day meeting with the project manager for the middle way house's new wings project-- discussing how i'm going to get the cubbies for the child care area built this summer. then i went off to one of mother hubbard's cupboard's community gardens, and put in a couple of hours there, thinning lettuce and radish seedlings, and talking compost with other volunteers. after a lovely salad of micro-green thinnings, plus some spinach, arugula and violet blossoms from my own garden (topped with the last of the easter eggs), i jumped on the bike and headed down to city hall, for the first annual meeting of the bloomington community orchard. at the meeting i saw the inspiring orchard design sketches, stunning photos of the many varieties of fruit trees being researched and chosen for the orchard, and we voted in the by-laws for the brand new organization.
riding home, through that picture-perfect urban trail scene, i couldn't help but believe, at least for that moment, that what we imagine and hope for, really can come true. sometimes.