Marc Norman and a Project to Knit the Urban Fabric

Incoming Loeb Marc Norman wrote recently, “My last hurrah at UPSTATE before the Loeb year begins is the creation of an Urban Rest Stop highlighting the issues around the urban expressway in Syracuse.  It is an NEA-funded event for which I commissioned architects and artists to create an immersive environment.”

The international team Afoam won the competition to design the Urban Rest Stop, which will use movable translucent curtains and site-specific art works, videos and performances to explore the legacy and future of Syracuse. The installation is located in Forman Park, adjacent to Interstate 81.

The highway cuts through the city, creating a barrier separating the University Hill District from downtown, and dividing institutions, residential areas and classes. The curtains have symbolic meaning: as people gather in the park and pass through the layers of fabric, they reopen connections closed by the highway looming alongside.

While residents debate whether to replace or eliminate this section of I81, the URS will use art to engage diverse communities in exploring the history, impact, and potential of the highway by reimagining the rest stop—typically a utilitarian rural amenity—as an urban activator.

As Norman leaves UPSTATE, A Center for Design, Research and Real Estate at the Syracuse University School of Architecture, behind for a few months, the GSD will benefit from his creatively restless spirit.

Learn more about what’s planned for the Urban Rest Stop.

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