Monday, April 23, 2012

Vermont Green Line Station Mosaic

Today's mosiac should be familiar to anyone who's taken the 105 west from the 110. Just before you pass under Vermont, there's a great big tile tree in the middle of the freeway.

The entire station, designed by Torgen Johnson (on the architecture side) and Kim Yasuda (artist), is dedicated to trees and greenery. In fact, here is their artistic statement about the Vermont Station:

"We attempted to reclaim the green space erased by the concrete freeway system. We also wanted to acknowledge the resilience of the residential community that has been impacted by these freeways. By drawing upon the neighborhood efforts of grass-roots community gardens, this public site takes on local identity and meaning."

This station is said to be in Gardena, and Gardena started out as an agricultural community. Activists fought to retain a huge tree that some people wanted to clear out of the way for the Green Line Station's park-and-ride lot. So from the beginning--the station was built in 1995--the idea was to celebrate trees and shrubs. In fact, the name of the station is "real green." Read more here.

Supposedly, the saved tree is the one pictured in the mosaic.

Sounds nice. It really isn't. I found a recent report that places this area as either West Adams or the Harbor Gateway, administered by the city and county of LA, not Gardena. The report (by the South Bay Cities Council of Governments) cites lack of sidewalks, trash, stray dogs, the smell of urine, and other unsafe conditions that probably keep people away from this station, rather than making it user-friendly. The report says the park and ride is unsafe, so I didn't stop to take pictures. These are the only photos I could find, and I think one dates from when the station was being built.

Others call the picture a tile mural, but the tiles are very small squares--the effect is almost like a bargello quilt. (A bargello quilt uses one size and shape--usually a small rectangle--to create an entire picture, because each rectangle is a slightly different color or pattern.)

Like this at left. This bargello quilt was crafted by Rosanna Williams of Fostoria, Ohio.

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