Design Proposal for the ROW GARDEN
Gabriel Akagawa

This proposal is for the creation of a “garden” space outside the windows of the Northern Illinois Art Museum which will be visible from the Altgeld rear parking lot. (see image 5) The exterior area is covered by a spotty amount of moss. The area is
image #5
outside of the windows of the main entrance to two of the three Art Museum galleries. They are of aesthetic importance for museum visitors and NIU staff.

My proposal is to create a social space. A garden has an impact on the health of any community of people or environment. An increase in plant variety produces more visual stimulation and oxygen production. This garden design has many rows of plant and mulch or gravel, allowing for a variety of colors and textures to occupy a single space in harmony. A garden path leads the visitor or gardener through the area as well as the eye to a bricked-over door in the wall. This is a focal point that connects all of the images (designated by a light blue line). This plan allows for select participants to grow one or more plant varieties in a designated row.

e_New_PLOT_Garden_#1.jpgThis proposal prioritizes art and ecology. By creating a space for a social art project to occur, the vitality of the community improves. The project will be advertised to everyone who works in the building. Any staff or faculty participants will have the option to plant a row of a single variety of seeds, plants or bulbs. This area has not had any plants besides weeds or moss in it. So, like any garden, each planting will be an experiment, due to soil and light conditions. Each row will be separated by an edger or a path of mulch, stone, brick, or gravel.

Reuse and recycling are processes of every garden where soils, moisture, composts, insects, animals and organic materials feed and depend on each other. The plants and building materials for this project will hold to this cycle. The limestone blocks come from the façade of a reconstruction of a downtown Chicago building. They were acquired years ago by the School of the Art Institute’s Sculpture Department and are now scheduled for disposal. The limestone is the perfect material for garden pavers. The material visually resonates with the stone used in Altgeld Hall’s facades. The plants are dependent on participants. Choices will be discussed with myself or other organizers such as Josephine Burke. I will include ferns, hostas, chives, oregano, and sedum from my mother’s (a master gardener), my neighbor’s, and my own gardens. These plants are hardy and will fill in their area over the next few years.

I have recently developed my own garden (image 6) using similar materials such as used, free, and donated plants and materials.
image #6

Thank you for your attention to this proposal.
Gabriel Bizen Akagawa