New Public Art Project Proposal: Fort Calgary Essay

Question:

Discuss about the New Public Art Project Proposal for Fort Calgary.

Answer:

Introduction

This document contains a project proposal. The site to be discussed in this document is Fort Calgary, which is located in Mohkinsstiss. This proposal will highlight the history of Fort Calgary; its different unique features, and how the new proposal will affect its current state.

The construction of this Fort began in the year 1874. The Fort is the birthplace of the common city Calgary and this is the point where the past the present and the future of the Calgary city come from (Fortcalgary, n.d). In its early years of operation, the fort was a police administration center, which symbolized law, order, and prosperity. The fort also served as a; hospital, a refuge and social center and it was a focal point for settlers, ranchers and business.

In the year 1914, the fort was sold to Grand Trunk Pacific railway who later on sold it to the Canadian National Railway (Fort Calgary Annual Report, 2016). The history of Calgary town was hidden under a railway yard and storage area for the next 61 years (Brown, 2005). In 1971, the city of Calgary managed to buy the fort and returned the city’s birthplace to the public domain thanks to the efforts made by Alderman John Ayer. Since then the fort has been a center for Calgarians to think about their past and then plan for their future.

Calgary Fort is an interesting site because this is where the past meets the present. The fort tells stories of the many cultures that have evolved and define who the Calgarians were (Fortcalgary, 2017). At the fort people gather there to a richer understanding of how the past shapes their present and future. The fort is a place of for truth and reconciliation (Discover Calgary, n.d).

For this proposal, I wish to add some bit of art to the landscape around the fort. Landscape architecture achieves art through the shaping and design of outdoor and public spaces striving to achieve aesthetic, environmental and social-behavioral balance; this simply means that applying artistic and scientific principles to the research, planning, design and management of both natural and built environment (Shannon & Smets, 2010). The project entails analysis of the landscape, which means a systematic investigation of existing ecological situation, geological conditions, and social circumstances. The research will then evolve into design intervention that will improve the general outlook of Fort Calgary without interfering with its normal activities.

The proposal will involve the design of a monument park in front of the fort. Monuments form very important elements of the urban physical realm (Alexander, 2005). They have an impact on the quality of public spaces in how they are perceived or experienced. Monuments are of particular importance. They have a special significance as preservers of collective memories and as symbols of the identity and the self-worth of nation, cities, neighborhoods, or smaller groups of people. They can sometimes be foci of the collective life of a people. Monuments normally act as landmarks and events of the past, but do so in the space and time of the present.

The monument park that is to be design should consist of one major central monument that will in this case have to communicate a lot about the past and present lives of the Calgarians. This monument should be seen and experienced as one walks towards the fort. The art work must be exposed to everyone, not only to certain groups of people that are interested in the art and culture of the Calgarians but rather be encountered by very diverse publics, who often have no contact with art in the galleries and museums (Agapiou, et al., 2015).

The landscape design will be the canvas. It shall explore proper planning that contributes to visual and pedestrian access, focalize the artwork, and contribute to more livable space around the fort. This project will be aiming at regenerating the space around the fort with regard to social interaction, landscape and art aesthetics, learning environments, and amplify the importance and prominence of the land and expand the public realm within this very important entrance to the fort (Shannon & Smets, 2010).

A general understanding of the site is very important and also the general understanding of the different types of sculptural forms to be used and how they can be integrated in the landscape. For our case, we shall use freestanding sculpture, relief sculptures, kinetic sculptures, and equestrian.

Freestanding sculptures are those sculptures that are unattached to the background and have space on all of their sides. In this project, a sculpture of a soldier constructing the fort will be our main monument. This monument will be placed at the midpoint of the gate in the compound and the entry into the fort. The monument should be very huge in size as compared to the other sculptures. This monument should also be designed in such a way that it has a face of a modern soldier to represent the present life and culture, and the face of a traditional soldier to represent the soldiers who did participate it the construction of the fort and it will represent the past culture.

The relief sculptures are those sculptures where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. Within the forts sculpture park we shall have different relief sculptures carrying different messages. One shall bear police walking. This will represent the police who travelled to come and put up this wonderful fort. Another one will bear the different services that were being at the fort; police administration center, hospital, a refuge, social center and a focal point for settlers and business. Then the last one should bear the names of the police officers who participated in its construction.

Then there is the kinetic sculpture. These sculptures generally portray things that are always in motion. In this project, a water fountain will be used to show how time does not stop. Times do change and people do change and culture changes with time. This fountain will be designed in that it drains its water to a man-made stream that will be made to flow within the sculptural park.

Then finally, for the sculptures there is the equestrian. These are sculptures relating to horse riding. During the era when the fort was set up, horses were majorly used to transport goods and people. Therefore, a sculpture of that kind will be useful in communicating.

Apart from the sculpture, the area should be well landscaped with beautifully done lawns. These lawns should have trees planted and sitting spaces provided under the trees. Then the sculptures should be arranged interestingly within the park to attract more traffic into the fort.

The monuments will need regular dusting and annual repainting and repairs if any happens to be damaged. Then the lawns should be mowed on a weekly basis, and then picking of leaves shed by the trees should happen on a daily basis to ensure the park is in a neat state. The trees will also need some trimming to make them adopt interesting shapes. The pathways also should be cleaned on a daily basis.

In conclusion I wish to state the fort as it is currently is not badly off but adding the sculptural park in front of it will really enhance its look in general and also much traffic of people will be attracted to the fort and by that much interaction will happen hence improving the socialization among the Calgarians.

References

Fort Calgary Annual Report. (2016). FC National Historic Site, 1-16.

Brown, T. (2005). The World-famous Alaska Highway: A Guide to the Alcan & Other Wilderness Roads of the North. Oregon: Graphic Arts Center Publishing Co.

Fortcalgary. (2017). Fort-Calgary-School-Program. School Program Bronchure, 1-9.

Fortcalgary. (n.d). History of Fort Calgary. Retrieved April 5, 2018, from Fortcalgary:

Discover Calgary. (n.d). Retrieved April 5, 2018, from WorldWeb:

Shannon, K., & Smets, M. (2010). The landscape of contemporary infrastructure. Rotterdam: NAi Publishers.

Alexander, J. (2005). The educational buildings of Pius IV: variations upon a building type in urban monuments.Landscape and Urban planning, 73(2-3), 89-109.

Agapiou, A., Alexakis, D. D., Lysandrou, V., Sarris, A., Cuca, B., Themistocleous, K., & Hadjimitsis, D. G. (2015). Impact of urban sprawl to cultural heritage monuments: The case study of Paphos area in Cyprus. Journal of Cultural Heritage,16(5), 671-680.

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