"Downtown Lethbridge"

“Downtown Lethbridge”

“Downtown Lethbridge” inserted punctuation marks into the external facades of five buildings in the downtown area: the Lethbridge Public Library, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Oddfellows Hall (at the corner of 4th Avenue and 5th Street), Lethbridge Fire Hall #1, and the Trianon Building.

“Downtown Lethbridge” began with the idea of making buildings and their stories legible: their design and architectural style and their actual history and use, as well as the uses and histories that the public assumed or imagined for them. Visually subtle and deliberately ambiguous, they blended in with the structures’ existing design. Punctuation marks give language structure; they are signs that can either aid interpretation or completely change meaning. The punctuation shapes, based on Monotype’s version of Century Schoolbook Bold, were cut with a plasma router from 1/8 stainless steel.This project literalizes the task of ‘reading’ architecture as text, as well as considering that buildings themselves speak.

“Downtown Lethbridge” was commissioned by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, as part of Into the Streets: Avenues for Art, a public art initiative presented in collaboration with Musagetes, an international organization devoted to making art more central in our lives, and Cities for People, an initiative launched by the McConnell Foundation to explore the role of arts and culture in advancing urban resilience and livability. Five artists were invited by the SAAG to propose projects that somehow animated Lethbridge’s downtown area.