Paris style view sheds and sight lines

Remember that feeling you would get as you entered the Philadelphia Flower Show when it was held at the old Civic Center across from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania?

The ride down the escalator ended with an explosion of color and context – it was a visceral mood changing experience that knocked old man winter out cold. And don’t take my word for it. This from flower show regular Bob Murphy: “This was magic, in the old locale. As you would descend the escalator, it was as if Spring had been held captive in the basement – and this was a special way of letting you know what was to be unleashed in the coming year.”

This observer – and truth be told flower show exhibitor – has missed that moment ever since the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society moved its big show to the Convention Center.

I always love the displays and plants but I also always come away feeling like I was navigating a rabbit warren. The exbibitions just felt jammed together. You never got a sense of the show as a whole. It was nice, really nice … but incremental. Until this year.

Saturday morning as I entered my Tillandsia Recurvata in the Epiphyte class (check it out in the slideshow … and yes it did win a yellow ribbon), I was awestruck by the viewsheds and boulevard-like gangways through the show.

The Eiffel Tower loomed over the whole show and enormous nature of the effort was powerfully brought to bear.

PHS President Drew Becher, who is not afraid of change, pushed the idea of creating a new perspective for the show’s layout and he was happy about how it played to the eye and handled the big crowds. Becher is also letting folks know that changing the show’s layout and visual delivery might be the order of the day every year. As a student of the built environment, I’m good with that!

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