A whimsical piece of urban art will be getting a makeover as progress continues on Bellingham’s downtown waterfront redevelopment project. A patch of ivy vines growing on the side of the Granary Building trimmed into the shape of a heart has become a popular photo spot, but now stands in the way of improvements necessary to remodel the historic structure.
Architect John Reid of Robinson McIlwaine (RMI) Architects has been working with the owner of the building, Harcourt Developments, on the building design. “New external insulation and cement rendering must be placed on the lower two stories of the building to meet code requirements so unfortunately the ivy vines have to be removed” said Reid. “But the evergreen heart has become an iconic art feature in downtown Bellingham and Harcourt has plans to make it a permanent part of the newly renovated Granary Building.”
After renovations are complete, a wood trellis of similar size and shape to the existing heart will be placed on the outside of the building and a new vine planted which will eventually be fashioned into a permanent evergreen heart.
“After speaking with the Port of Bellingham’s horticulturalist, we decided a flowering evergreen jasmine vine would be a better alternative to English Ivy” said Reid. “Not only can this vine be shaped to form large heart on the outside of the building, but it will have a spectacular display of intensely fragrant, cream-colored flowers in the summer.”
English Ivy has been listed on the noxious weed list in the State of Washington and the rootlets can work into wood and mortar on the side of buildings causing structural and aesthetic damage.
The Granary building is on schedule to open in 2017 with restaurant space, stores and office space.