Art and architecture can have a major impact on the environment, whether it’s by raising awareness, providing commentary, or maintaining or improving the natural atmosphere around them. Although there has been a surge in architectural designs and artistic movements concerning the state of our environment, this is by no means a new concept. Below, several art projects and architectural features constructed throughout the last few decades are highlighted.
Eve Mosher wanted to make a statement, but not the verbal kind. With a tag line, “visualizing climate change,” the artist made New York City residents do just that. Her aim was to stress the growing danger of climate change. To bring the issue to local turf and force people to empathize and take ownership rather than brush it off as a global problem, Mosher took to the streets, drawing lines of blue chalk across the city. The lines, created by pushing a line marker, symbolized the potential threat of flooding that could result in the marked area going underwater. That happened in 2007. Mosher has since traversed to other cities to spread the word through her performance art.
Houses In Switzerland
The quant ecological cottages grounded in Switzerland could be mistaken as the neighborhood where the Keebler Elves live. Designed by Peter Vetsch, these homes are covered by layers of the earth. Vetsch began his earth house architecture in the late 70’s, and has since made a name for himself building over 90 homes in countries all over the globe. The theme of each home? Energy saving. His sprayed concrete structures creates a shell to maximize space with minimal surface area. The lack of right angles is ideal for energy conservation.
In the newly constructed park in the city of Chicago, called The 606, resides an attention-grabbing sculpture designed to turn heads. Frances Whitehead, a professor of sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, wanted to provoke park visitors with 453 local apple serviceberry trees in a trail way intersection. Because of their sensitivity to temperature, spectators will be able to experience the changing climate in a literal form.
This interactive work of art also doubled as a wastewater treatment plant. The public works project treated stormwater, offers room for gardens, and augments eight acres of wetland space open for observation. In the 1990’s Lorna Jordan sought to connect the community to the natural water purification process and other mysterious and majestic traits of the beloved source of life.
One of the world leaders in landscape architecture, planning, and urban design is SWA. Their objective is to create sustainable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing designs aimed at social consciousness. One of their projects was for Google Headquarters in California.
There are countless artists and architects that have attempted to make changes in the world. Art has been and will always be a form of expression, a way to inspire, and an outlet to demand the attention of the public. In the right time and context, it might just be a movement in the making.