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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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Maya Lin's Design

Maya Lin's Design

GRHC - December 15th, 2010

Maya Lin designed the central gathering area in downtown Grand Rapids.    



At the tender age of 21, Maya Lin became one of the most controversial artists in the United States. Her design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., came under attack for a variety of reasons, but it would eventually become the most-visited monument in the country.

Grand Rapids has a history of supporting the arts. It was among the first cities to install public art with Alexander Calder's "Le Grande Vitesse," and by the end of the year 2000, Grand Rapids had an experiential park designed by renowned artist, Maya Lin, in the center of its downtown.

The design was commissioned by the Frey Foundation. In the design water is featured in the frozen, liquid and vapor states. Lin incorporates these three states of water with a central gathering area for concerts in summer and ice-skating in winter, a misting fountain, and a reflecting pool with a water cascade. Sculpted grass "waves" echo the rapids of the Grand River, to the park's west, and honor the feature for which the city is named.

Lin said the design created a wonderful opportunity to start a dialogue between art, architecture, and planning. Rarely is an artist brought in at the beginning of an urban design situation, in which the art acts as a catalyst for the reshaping of this central part of the city of Grand Rapids. She valued the opportunity to bring art, architecture, landscape, and urban design together for such a unique collaboration.

Full Details

TitleMaya Lin's Design
KeywordsGlance at the Past, history, radio, Maya Lin, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission, Podcast
Pubdate StringDecember 15th, 2010

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