Proposal for a Garden
New York, New York, 2019
Given the incredible beauty of Wave Hill and its immediate surroundings, my proposal is not for the creation of an autonomous object, but rather a vehicle through which visitors can experience the gardens, the river, and the palisades in an unexpected way. Via a small winding stair, Belvedere transports observers from the ground to the level of the canopy, offering elevated views of nature, and simulating the experience of floating in the trees. The spiraling motion of this ascent is somewhat disorienting, not unlike spinning with one’s eyes closed before a game of hide-and-seek. This effectively detaches visitors from the directionality of their journey, creating the impression of having arrived somewhere without remembering exactly how. The climb indicates a transition: as one approaches the installation, stands below the trees, mounts the steps, and ascends to the platform, they are experiencing the gardens fully coming to life in June, exploding in color in September, and going dormant thereafter.
The structure itself consists of a lower base, an upper observation deck atop a central pier, and a cantilevered staircase linking the two. It is surrounded by an enclosure of evenly spaced cedar planks, the gaps between creating a moire effect of opening and closing as one circles its perimeter, switching between transparency and opacity. Belvedere’s humble, natural materiality further contributes to its transitional metaphor. When first installed, the cedar enclosure will be a rich brownish-yellow, but this will quickly fade, and by the end of the season it will patina to hues of bright, worn silver.