St. Louis, MO
2023 Merit Award, ASLA St. Louis
The Art on Campus program is a percent-for-art program at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum of Washington University, and a growing collection of public artworks by nationally and internationally recognized artists. Arbolope Studio has been engaged by the University over a number of years to provide landscape design and siting design for the installation of public artworks for this program, culminating most recently with the installation of Chakaia Booker’s Shaved Portions in the summer of 2022. Additional artists include Ayse Erkmen, Inigo Mañglano-Ovalle, and Dan Graham.
Collaborating with the curatorial team and artists, Arbolope has carefully considered the formal qualities of each artwork, placing the campus and sculptures in dialogue with one another through their site design. Taken together, all 4 collaborations between WUSTL, the artists, and Arbolope prove the value of promoting the generative intersection of art, education, and design.
“Places” is a outdoor sculpture by Ayse Erkmen located on the Danforth Campus of Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) and part of the Art on Campus Collection, a percent-for-art program at WUSTL.
The sculpture is a collection of 9 glass mosaic tiled geometric forms made of stainless steel reinforced concrete, laid out in a semicircular form in one of the Engineering Quads along a major pedestrian route east of the main campus library. From the Kemper Museum’s blog “This confluence of people and physical space informs the artistic choices. Places originates and intervenes in the social and spatial environment.”
A year after the work’s installation, Arbolope Studio was asked to develop a landscape concept for the work to deal with a number of site maintenance issues. In line with the artist’s intention of having her work be inviting to interact with, Arbolope planted the semicircular lawn area with a bed of Thyme varieties - a fragrant stepable perennial groundcover which eliminates potential damage from lawn mowers. Taller Sedges are planted on the western side of the work, creating a backdrop and giving the work a more inviting sense of enclosure. Complementary plantings of crocuses and sculptural Alliums within the Thyme and Sedge beds respectively, give the work additional seasonal interest.