SAN DIEGO, CA.- Pacific Rim Park
completed its seventh park, located in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, led by iconic artist James Hubbell and more than 30 architecture students from around the Pacific. The new park was designed and built in only four weeks, from July 13 to Aug. 10 and connected participants from eight different countries: allowing them to see past cultural and political differences and work together toward compassion, understanding and acceptance as expressed through building a public space of beauty and intent.
This new park, Pacific Birth, is another testament to the purpose and mission of Pacific Rim Park providing an opportunity for Pacific cultures to come together in a shared project and vision to remind us how connected we are, explained Pacific Rim Park Executive Director, Kyle Bergman. The park is a portal for quiet reflection, sitting on the bench, looking out to the ocean and knowing that the Pacific can hold us together or keep us apart its our choice and the park hopes to foster a connection and sense of a Pacific family.
The Pacific Rim Park (PRP) project was created to connect people from across the Pacific by collective portals, overlooking the largest body of water on Earth that unites everyone and provides a sense of equality, even among the most divergent of nations. Pacific Rim Park locations include Vladivistok, Russia (1994), San Diego, Calif. USA (1998), Yantai, China (2001), Baja California, Mexico (2004) and Puerto Princesa, Philippines (2009), and Jeju Island, Korea (2010).
Bergman, Hubbell and the students arrived in Taiwan in July just as the powerful Typhoon Soulik touched down. While many thought there would be no way for the group to finish such an ambitious build in only three weeks, they would not allow the heat, humidity, rain and wind to move their timeline off track. Everyone worked from sunrise to sunset every day on every kind of construction and architectural task, including one day of mixing, pouring and moving by hand 12 cubic meters of concrete, which weighed nearly 30,000 pounds.
The bricks in the wall of the park were donated by one of the few remaining brick factories in Kaoshuing, the students had toured the factory during the first week and each student made a clay tile that was fired and incorporated into the walls. In the last week, three PRP alumni joined the team (two from Russia and one from the Philippines) and gave the team a boost of energy and experience that was important to finish the park.
Finally, things began wrapping up and coming together and on Aug. 8, Mayor Chen of Kaoshuing visited the park and installed a few bricks with the students. Hubbell also graciously gifted the Mayor with a watercolor he did during the initial design of the park.
On the last day of the build, at the Opening Ceremony, everyone gathered to celebrate the birth of the newest park and commemorate the motivation and reason behind the buildto connect the world through beauty. The students also performed an opera they wrote in their few moments of free time. The opera was about the Pacific Ocean and the connection between the countries surrounding it.
Hubbell asks this question of the purpose of the Pacific Rim Parks: "Can the parks help show that there is a Pacific culture -- not just a Pacific economy -- and bring us to see ourselves as a Pacific family, or will it aspirate our sense of competition for its resources?
Every time we start one of these parks, it the same most people think this is impossible in such a short amount of time but when its all said and done weeks later, the effort and the shear will of the group always worth it, said Bergman. The incredible artist vision wisdom the Jim provides, the teamwork of the group and the infectious positivity and ambition from the students, reminds us every time why we keep doing this. . We not only built a park but we continue to build the PRP family.