Contest Submission

Square Trees

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Type of Work: Spatial Artwork

Introduction

The “Square trees” make the Place des Alliés a meeting place, a lively place. They give the square color (also in winter), making it a neighborhood hotspot and also a visual marker at city level. They bring nature to the city by referring to real trees in the nature surrounding the city. Square trees to sit by, hang out and play with, taking advantage of the square.

General

Squares that people experience as pleasant are often provided with trees. That is difficult here because there is a parking garage under the square. Square trees are the urban variant of the natural trees. Square trees consists of five tree objects with seats. The Square trees can be placed on the square in different ways. For various activities, they can be placed as needed for the activity, they can be moved by means of a pump truck (which they probably have at Aldi).

Involvement of local residents

The Square trees are provided with their species name and coordinates. These coordinates refer to the real trees that inspired the Square trees. In order to determine the silhouettes of trees, we would like to ask local residents and users of the square online to pass on their favorite tree from the Differdange area to us. Ask people to provide a photo, the name and the coordinates (where can the tree be found), but above all to tell them what this tree means to them. That can be the tree in particular, but also the type of tree, which memories, stories or dreams belong to it? From this we choose five different trees. The texts of the stories can be found in the seats. (texts milled into it)

Material and quantity

For the available budget, five Square trees can be made of wood (waterproof plywood). For a more permanent variation we recommend to use steel. Steel is also a better fit for the city because of the local steel industry. The dimensions of the square are large, to make a good gesture that gives the square color and recognisability, five Square trees are the minimum number. This is not feasible within budget. If the Square trees are selected, we would like to see if sponsoring in steel is possible and let the final number of treed depend on that. For milling / jetting the trees from the material, we want to approach a company from Differdange for the execution. No material is lost when making the Square trees, the silhouette that is milled out is used as a tree that is rotated a quarter of a turn with respect to the plate. We also want to ask a company from Differdange to make the texts in the seats. Size In wood : 2.5 x 2.5 m, 3.6 m high In steel: to be determined, may be larger than in wood Colors : different colors of green, with one color yellow and one color blue

Estimated time: two months?
Estimated cost: 15000

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5 Responses

  1. I like this concept very much. I imagine the trees would need to have cutouts in order to protect against strong winds. The cutouts might be milled in the shape of the tree’s leaves. Also, allow citizens to attach a note, message, poem, declaration of love …

  2. As Sergio Marques Dias has commented on Facebook (Sept 29th) the existing trampolines are an important asset of the space for toddlers and their parents. I see no contradiction including them into your tree concept.

    In contrary: Combining the Toddler-Thought with what Paul Schroeder suggests – the local Kindergardens could be invited to create artistic “leaves” with their kids for the trees.

  3. a very nice idea, and I really like your consideration of local industry / materials!
    In case the trees are made of wood – would they be stable enough? or they will be somehow attached to the ground?

    1. Hi Kat! Thank you!
      Of course we will make sure that the trees are protected against winds. We preferrably attach them to the ground or attach them to some heavy (painted?) concrete blocks where you can sit on as well. We’ll deal with that.

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Related Contest Briefing
Place des Alliés is a main square located in the Fousbann area of the City of Differdange. This area is marked by the big industrial site of the AlcelorMittal (former ARBED / HADIR) – a historically important center of steel production that is less than 300m away from Place des Alliés. A part of the industrial site had been recently reconverted to the 1535 Creative Hub (200m direct walking way from the square), hosting around 300 creatives. Although the hub is significant for the changing city identity, it is seen by residents as quite isolated and closed to the public....
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Place des Alliés