Seattle/Washington D.C.

Robert Irwin

Public Safety Building Plaza, Old Post Office

Two pieces erected last year by Robert Irwin will probably come to be regarded as among his best work. The piece in Seattle, Nine Spaces, Nine Trees, is located on a small, previously empty plaza on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Cherry Street; it interferes, though mildly, with access from the street to one of the main entrances of the nearby Public Safety Building. Irwin subdivided the approximately square plaza into nine smaller squares, each 22 by 22 feet, and placed at the center of each a square concrete planter which also provides seating. In each planter is a flowering purple plum tree—small, delicate, with one-lobed, dark red leaves. Each “room” is surrounded by a fence of small-mesh chain link, coated with blue vinyl; the fence rises to a height of 16 feet, where it is topped with lights, one pointed at each of the nine trees. The rooms open into one another through large doorways

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