Project Category: Open Space OS-14
Project Name: "RE-FLECT”
Length of Design Effort & Date of Completion: 2010
studio JEFRE LA - Max Spann, ASLA
of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program -
Jane Golden - Executive Director
Contractor: studio JEFRE LA
In 2010 the
Mural Arts Committee of Philadelphia issued a national design competition to
develop a series of gateway sculptures.
The project is the first of its kind for the program creating its first
three-dimensional living green mural.
Working with the Mural Art Corp Kids the team created a first of a
series of living sculptures to educate them on the value of environmental art
and benefits of rain harvesting and horticulture.
River is a natural dividing line between downtown Philadelphia and West
Philadelphia. Schuylkill River is translated in dutch for "hidden river” due to
the heavily vegetated edges that camouflaged the river from the general public.
The sculpture is composed of two towers with a reflective steel side and a
heavily planted side to symbolize the qualities of the river. The first tower
is oriented in the direction of contemporary Philadelphia and the second tower
facing old historic Philadelphia.
Similar to the rich qualities of the river
that reflect the evolving skyline it allows the visitor to stand in between the
two towers and be reflected in history of both the old and new. The living
sculptures are composed of herbs and succulence that contains a build-in
irrigation system and is connected by a rain harvesting cistern and future rain
Within the 24 year history of the Mural Arts Program, its focus has been to
work with inner city kids to create mural art projects that help rebuild a
city. This project was the first of its kind for the program creating its first
three-dimensional living mural. The landscape architecture team worked with the
Mural Art Corp Kids to educate them on the value of environmental art and
benefits of rain harvesting and horticulture. The kids looked at plants as a
new color palette understanding the changing of seasons in order to create a
transformative sculpture through out the year.
Working with local garden
centers, the kids were educated in horticulture and studied plants as it
related to seasonal color, texture and feel, The Mural Art Corp Kids then
created a series of conceptual paintings based on plant material and worked
with landscape architecture team on the design of the façade of both towers.
The Mural Art Corp kids and local community then provided assistance in the
planting of the green wall systems and irrigation system. The interaction of
the kids allowed the community to fully participate in a public art and
landscape architecture process that created a sense of ownership for a
As an extension of the rich urban gardening history of
Philly the sculpture serve as three dimensional vertical community gardens that
could provide edible products for the residents. The gateway is maintained
within the cities public work streetscape budget. As understood this living
sculpture is first of its kind within the national public art program and sets
a great precedent for a City to undertake a level of maintenance that most
cities will not for the value of education of providing environmental value
within a public art and streetscape system.
Lead Designer: JEFRË