Growing recognition

Thursday 08 Dec 2011

Unveiling of designs for African American Cultural Garden realises a 34 year old objective

Stretching back 34 years ago, in a faded version of Cleveland Ohio, when George Voinovich was Mayor, four acres of land were decidedly destined for a noble dedication. After an inspired local drive, headed by the late politician Booker Tall, it was decided to cultivate at Cleveland Cultural Gardens, at Rockefeller Park, a befitting project to recognise the African American community.

Whilst the realisation of these designs was certainly a long time coming, the wait seems finally to be over, as that former vision looks set to become a reality. Last Wednesday, revealed at a ceremony at Cleveland City Hall, prospective plans were finally unveiled, by local leaders and residents, for the upcoming African American Cultural Garden. Several attempts had been made in the past; failings for which this latest try, spearheaded by architect W. Daniel Bickerstaff II, head of locally based Ubiquitous Design Ltd, will look to amend. Benefiting from this characteristic of passing years, the architecture of the project will incorporate several components representing a shifting tapestry of time, looking at the past, present and future. Whilst alluding to the motivations and emotions behind the original concept, water, stone and trees have been incorporated into the overall aesthetic, underscoring the themes of justice, democracy and hope.

Bickerstaff’s botanical park will become one of 27 cultural gardens at Rockefeller Park, all imbued with contemplations on various ethnicities, cultures and countries, that encompasses the diverse population of Cleveland. At its heart will rest a long, masoned walkway and platform, descending down a declining slope. Comprising of light stonework, before meeting darker hued marble, this amalgamated, impressive stair walk has a trickling water feature running down its midst, stemming from an ornate source at the feature’s peak. Forming a solemn, yet enhancing ring around the structure, are firmly rooted a circular thicket of trees, casting shadows in the sun, sheltering those who need it.

On the significance of finally obtaining an end, to this long-running saga, Andrew Jackson, chairman of the African American Cultural Garden Task Force, plainly stated: “We think this is a major milestone for us to unveil the design we have been working on for 34 years. I think it is going to be a wonderful opportunity to galvanize the African American community." Construction on the $2.2 million project, funded through donations and grants, is expected to begin and be completed in 2013.

Tom Aston

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team
  • Town Planning Manager | Housebuilder in Surrey | 3+ years' PQE

    Are you a Town Planner with some commercial experience under your belt (consultancy or developer)? Would you like to work for a regional housebuild...
    • Lewis Davey
    • Surrey - near M25/M23 junction
  • Principal Planning Consultant (Policy)

    This is a career opportunity for somebody looking to play a key role in the delivery of an effective and efficient planning policy service.
    • Capita
    • Manchester/Salford (North West) or Breckland or North Tyneside or Barnet (North London)
  • Planning Officers

    Work as key members of the Councils development management service providing pre-application advice, dealing with applications and appeals.
    • Chiltern and South Bucks Council
    • Amersham, Buckinghamshire
  • Enforcement Officer - Hertfordshire

    A Local Authority in Hertfordshire are looking for an Enforcement Officer to assist them with a backlog of cases for an initial contract of 3-6 months
    • Oyster Partnership
    • Hertfordshire
  • Planning Officer

    Do you want to work for a Planning Authority in a superb world-class location, that also has an outstanding record of achievement?
    • Plymouth City Council
    • Plymouth, Devon