Emily Schlickman, USA
Elevated Ephemeralities re-imagines a forgotten urban space by creating a new marker for the city, a marker that registers the invisible geographies of Yaroslavl. Here, the atmospheric and hydrological landscapes of the Kotorosl are heightened through a dynamic installation that responds to ever-present cycles.
The existing infrastructure of Tolbuhinsky bridge provides a unique opportunity to create a new pedestrian connection while simultaneously re-engaging the community with their river. An installation that is always changing, Elevated Ephemeralities seeks to reveal the rich dynamism of the Kotorsol by creating a stratified network of walkways, delicately suspended above and floating below.
The project focuses on the space under the Tolbuhinsky bridge, directly over the Kotorosl River. Rather than competing with the architecture of the bridge, Elevated Ephemeralities subtly weaves two thin ribbons within the existing infrastructure. The first ribbon spans the entire width of the river and is anchored to the existing columns of the bridge. This ribbon creates a pedestrian corridor across the Kotorosl that is accessible throughout the course of the year. The second ribbon partially spans the river and is also attached to the columns, but can move vertically, with the changing water levels. When the water of the Kotorosl is high, the ribbons converge, creating a woven network of pathways. At low water level, the second ribbon floats below, a destination for adventurous boaters and swimmers in the summertime and those traversing the ice in the winter.
The city of Yaroslavl is located along the Golden Ring, a group of historic cities northeast of Moscow that have great historical importance. Building upon this existing tourist route, Elevated Ephemeralities aims to become a new stop, a new destination for visitors. Yet, rather than being an immersion into the past, it will be an immersion into the present, where tourists can feel the cool wind off the Kotorosl, smell the Bergenia along the bank, hear the song birds chirping in the riparian thicket.
The project seeks to be far more than a new urban connection. It will lure people back time and again, to experience the ephemeralities that continuously surround us but are never quite palpable. Season by season, week by week, day by day, hour by hour, the Kotorosl tells a new story. In November, a chill sets in, the water begins to slow and the plants await the first blanket of accumulation. In March, the ice moans and cracks, the vegetation on the banks slowly emerges for spring and the river swells. In July, the Kotorosl is alive with activity — boaters and swimmers explore its waters while bikers and joggers navigate its peripheries. In late September, the first frost sets in, the trees along the riverbanks stand tall in their bright fall colors, and the Kotorosl prepares itself for another year.
Emily Schlickman is a designer living in the Bay Area of California. She currently works at SWA Group where she is involved in large-scale landscape and planning projects. She holds a Master in Landscape Architecture degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. During her time in school, she received two travel fellowships to conduct independent research in Bangladesh and Indonesia, a community service fellowship and the Peter Walker and Partners Fellowship. Upon graduating, Emily taught landscape architecture and digital representation courses at the University of California, Davis while practicing as an independent design consultant. Most notably, she has worked on a stormwater management project in Taiwan, a river revitalization project in Germany, an urban design project in China and three art installations, one in Switzerland and two in California.