Being a temporary installation with future iterations, upcycling and material reuse were key project considerations. Wood log benches, bar tops and planter lumber were fabricated from trees that required removal in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. Plants were leftover stock grown at Fairmount Park's nursery. Scaffolding structures and lights as well as beer garden furnishings were purchased by Fairmount Parks for reuse in future Oval iterations. The mural painted in the parking lot will remain until next year's event when a new mural will take it's place. Graphic panels will be remade into tote bags and used as a fundraising mechanism by Fairmount Parks Conservancy.
The architect was retained by the Fairmount Park Conservancy to help imagine the next phase of their wildly popular Summer at Eakins Oval program. The architect was asked to look at both the space of the Oval, as well as the larger Benjamin Franklin Parkway, to image what an expanded summer installation might become. From this work, the architect proposed OVAL+, a concept for occupying the Oval and the Parkway using a system of illuminated pavilions anchored by dramatically patterned and colored ground surfaces. The 2017 OVAL+ project includes installations at Eakins Oval, Shakespeare Park and Aviator Park.
The OVAL+ is organized around a series of three large thematic landscape rooms- nature; art, culture and play; dialogue- that introduce the visitor to various aspects of the Parkway and Fairmount Park including hidden and unknown treasures, unique biotic assets, as well as the art and culture of the city. These aspects are organized in relation to a simple question—“What’s your Parkway, Philly?”—and are intended to probe the changing roles the Parkway and the Oval play in the daily life of Philadelphians.
Using various feedback mechanisms—social media, interviews, public events, on-site surveys and various other forms of data collection— the architect collected information and observations from the 2017 installation that will be used to inform future incarnations of the OVAL+ program, as well as longer-term, more permanent transformations of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.