Walking the City Observable
The following “score” as in a musical or dance score allows the participant to interpret the city and its environment as a new and fresh artistic experience.
There are several specific maps on this website to be used for explorations. (see Maps A-N). There is no set pattern you must follow. Go whatever directions interest you and are doable and invent some of your own ways of sensing the city.
Suggested materials to take:
A plastic or paper bag
Pad of paper and pen
You will be collecting a lot of data. Make written notes or sketches. Collect materials in the bag that you believe are a symbolic statement of your entire experience. You will be encouraged to share this information with others. This is, however, your own private experience. Bring an apple or snack, or lunch if your trip includes a break for thinking.
Public Buildings you pass sometimes seem to invite you to learn about them. These can be banks, schools, libraries, arcades etc.
Before entering, find a place where you can watch others entering and exiting the doors. How do people approach the doors—what sense of timing and speed?
How do the movements relate to others who are entering and exiting? Feel the sense of activity.
Inside, notice if there are carefully planned patterns and surface textures both high and low in this structure—the doors, floors, the ceilings, and railings. Look at the details and designs and jot down ones that are especially interesting.
Does this building excite you and/or challenge you? Does it create its own environment?
Here are some downtown buildings that should be of special interest to explore and will serve as examples of what is intended. Feel free to add to these lists:
MAP A- Downtown East: The Huntington Building #1
The Halle Building #5
The Playhouse Square Buildings #11
Greyhound Bus Terminal #28
The Hermit Club #27
MAP B- Downtown West:
Cleveland City Hall #4
Cleveland Public Library #8 and #9
Hyatt regency (The old Arcade) #10
Cleveland Board of Education #7
Terminal Tower Complex- Tower City Center #21
Things to ask about:
Name and Location of building.
When was the building built?
Who was the architect?
Basic building materials.
Innovative or interesting features in construction.
Based on historic structures?
Research: Compare your notes and anything you can find out about these buildings. Select two buildings from the same period or two different periods in the history of architecture and supply as much information as you can find.
Buildings and Houses/Apartments in your neighborhood are often interesting in ways you never imagined. Walk around two blocks. Look at two buildings that are of interest to you. Approach these in the same was you have looked at the public spaces in the public buildings listed. Start by looking carefully at your own surroundings. The building you live in.
Name the material of the facades: the exterior walls, the doors, the roof.
Draw the shapes of the roofs
Draw the design of the window placement.
Think about the number and sizes of the rooms
Is the ceiling plain or decorated
Is there a fireplace?
How many stories are there?
How many people live there?
What is your favorite place?
Now consider two other buildings in your neighborhood.
1. Look at MAP B and find The Eastman Garden at the Cleveland Public Library.
Why might that be many people’s favorite place in Cleveland? Walk it, sit it, read there, have your lunch there. Rest there.
#2 Look at MAP D and University Circle, a place to investigate for pockets of green spaces with dozens of sculpture pieces. Check out the Lagoon at Wade Park, wonderful particularly in the Spring with flowering trees. The meandering road leads across 105th Street towards Lake Erie and double tiered Rockefeller Park and the Cultural Gardens. More than two dozen gardens represent the city’s many different cultures. A favorite is the Italian Garden. See if you can find it. Find the City Greenhouse and see what kinds of flowers are growing there. (see www projectforpublicspaces.com)
#3 The city had a ring of green land around it. The Cleveland MetroParks (www.clevelandmetroparks.com) have recreational and educational programs. See which one you would most like to visit. Research the history of this rich resource.
#4 Pocket-sized parks are fun. When you pass one, notice what is happening and how it is being.
#5 Lakeview Cemetery is an arboretum, teaching resource, and a source of local history.
Look at other green areas you pass in the city, in your neighborhood, outside the city. What is happening in each space? What could happen there? Jot down your thoughts.
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