Anthony Wayne Trail, Toledo, Ohio, USA, 2018.
Toledo Rise is a gateway that captures the sense of motion inherent to the roadway site, its previous history as a railroad hub, and Toledo’s spirit of innovation. Haddad|Drugan collaborated with ODOT’s engineers to design an environmental artwork at the terminus of a new highway offramp that includes landforms, walls, plantings, and sculpture. The radiating layout of the landscape is derived from cut glass patterns and bicycle spokes. Twelve “spokes” made from train rails and concrete walls textured with a historic cut glass pattern act as an organizing device for the landscape. Seasonally-blooming bulbs, drought-tolerant sedum, native prairie grasses, and pollinator wildflowers fill the spaces between the spokes. A large bioswale occupies the largest slice of landscape.
The horizontal spokes transition into angled steel columns forming the base of a sculptural city greeter. At the top of the columns is a conical matrix of stainless steel tubes. Inspired by the image of glassblowing wands, cast glass objects are fastened to the ends of the tubes. These pieces depict items significant to Toledo’s manufacturing history – bottles, spark plugs, jeeps, and scales. Their yellow, orange and red colors reference amberina glass colors historic to Toledo. At night amber and red LEDs illuminate the matrix, producing a flame-like presence.
The artwork was commissioned by The Arts Commission. The sculpture was fabricated by Flatlanders and Mitchell Welding. The glass pieces were cast by Toledo artist Jack Schmidt. Concrete work was by A.A. Boos & Sons.