The day the earth first shook at CCCA was the day the boulders arrived. More than twenty tons of rocks were delivered and strategically placed in a garden that was like an oasis on asphalt.
Film school students, studying set design, learned how to construct a facade. In filmmaking, the crew is concerned only with “what the camera sees.” The fronts of houses and buildings often have no interiors. Like a facade for a film set, a garden took temporary root right outside Compass’ front door. It was a beautiful garden, all built in a few days and there for the illusion of a walk in the park. The garden was created to give visitors to the ArtPrize HUB (our neighbors), a grand entrance when they stepped off the trolley in front of the building.
“It was our largest undertaking for something like this,” said Matt Bakker, Vice President with Landscape Design, the company that did the work. “The garden had to be more than 120 feet in length and 30 feet wide. It took up half the roadway on Sheldon Boulevard. This is much larger than something you’d typically see at a home and garden show.”
In addition to the twenty tons of boulders, the garden of visual delights included 12 trees, 15 shrubs, 60 rose bushes, 40 types of ornamental grasses, dozens of chrysanthemums, and one hundred cubic yards of sand. The sand was needed to elevate the garden up to the level of the median strip curbing, some nine inches above the road-grade. The whole thing was irrigated by an underground sprinkling system.
In the center of the garden was a sculpted concrete walkway designed to give visitors a brief stroll through the flowers and trees before entering the building. The concrete poured and molded, had to be removed after ArtPrize ended. Between the jackhammers and the removal of the boulders, the earth in front of our building shook in departure. But having the garden here, like a good illusion in a movie, was worth it ... and fitting for a lesson in design.Photo: A birds-eye view of Compass College and the temporary ArtPrize park.