As a longterm resident and senior artist in Stratford, I would like to weigh in on the Market Square project. It is very important that any model designed for a public space reflect accurately, with the materials it uses to build the model, the practical application to that space in reality.
To my mind this has not been done by Plant Architect Inc., the firm that won popular support for the design it submitted. The pleasant light wood-coloured strips shaped into loose ball shapes in no way indicate the reality of sycamore trees that grow more than 40 metres in height, shed their bark and have sticky green buds, among other traits.
If “real” trees were shown on the model with the only other feature of some low lying steps near Downie Street, I doubt very much the design/model would have accumulated the desired number of votes to “win” the competition.
Trees are very important and should be in Market Square; however, primarily a public square should be an identifiable place and visually enhance the culture and history of Stratford’s urban and rural sensitivities.
A magnificent sculpture in Market Square, within the boundaries of a reflective pool, lively in its design and intriguing in concept, is a “win-win” project, a beautiful place to be under the sun. There are thousands of examples to draw from around the world, and one of them in Trafalgar Square in London, England. Nelson’s column, the giant lions and the water are timeless in their ability to say, “You have been here, as we have been,” and will continue to be like a rock that signifies the profound history and symbolism of England within the public square.
This makes good sense in Stratford. Millions of people have visited here and thousands of individuals have spent their lives here and raised their families and established a culture unlike, perhaps, any other place.
Our culture so hard won and lived throughout the history of Stratford should be the focal point/aspect of the square. Include a magnificent sculpture that incorporates more than one area of our local culture and history, that reflects in the shallow visual poetry of a reflecting pool, to reflect around the world our pride in our culture.
Susan Murar, Stratford