We realised this project was an opportunity not to miss. The initial inspiration came from a summer trip to Saskatoon in 2005. We had some video footage of that trip where he captured sequences of swaying grasses along the road side and some footage from the lake of the tall swaying spruces. Soon we were sketching and testing different ideas. There are for sure many precedents which have guided the design process.
Prairie Wind was inspired by the wind and prarie grasses that grow in abundance in the Saskatchewan landscape. The experience of watching a field of grass swaying in the wind is one that is shared by all Saskatchewan people. The powerful form of the aboriginal medicine wheel was also an important source for the landscaping concept.
We sketched out and tested many ideas to get to the final concept. These series of sketches are the first ones in a train of thought that led to the eventual design.
Here are a few of the models we used in the design phase of the project. They were very useful for us to determine the best spacing and height of the poles and also very useful in describing the project to others. The model with the built-in light was built professionally by A-Models in London, England. This was very effective in showing the grass pattern on the ground and showing how the poles would be illuminated in the evening.
The computer generated renderings were an effective way to give an impression of what the landmark would like in its actual context. The market scene on the left was constructed from images and people from our local flower market in London, England: Columbia Road Flower Market. The sunset rendering was based on a photograph taken by our friend Brian Kolisnyk.
The competition was a very exciting phase of this project. There were five other designs that all possessed unique and interesting qualities. We were most impressed with the enthusiasm that the competition generated in the community. Many people visited City Hall where the models were on display and numerous newspaper articles and radio shows were devoted to discussing the submitted entries.