t. joseph surjan

t. joseph surjan

Chicago, IL, US

detail I : sinking Cloverleaf
detail I : sinking Cloverleaf
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IVY girl & the Cloverleaf - ( The Fairy Tales Architecture Competition)

IVY girl  & the Cloverleaf

Part I : HOME

IVY Girl lives in the Cloverleaf.

A little girl Gale was born in the Cloverleaf.

The Cloverleaf is on the shore of a Great Lake.

IVY Girl and Gale understand the Cloverleaf as a symbol of home.

Gale walks past the site of her birthplace regularly just to see her beloved Cloverleaf.

One day on her walk she returned to the Cloverleaf and her birthplace had vanished. 


Part II : VOID

Where did my Cloverleaf go?” said Gale to herself

Gale went home and asked her parents where had the Cloverleaf gone.

She learned that the owner of the site sank the Cloverleaf into the Great Lake. 

The owner of the site decided a new shiny building is needed to replace it.

Her parents said it was impossible to bring back the Cloverleaf.

The Cloverleaf was an engineering marvel, but it is old and out of date now.

They also explained to Gale why she felt so attached to the Cloverleaf.

You’re old enough now to understand something we have never told you before.

Gale, the day you were born something unfortunate happened.

Your mother passed away giving birth to you.

We adopted you when you were only two days old.

The Cloverleaf is a symbol of the union of our family.

It is also a symbol of life to all the citizens in the city.

We have been walking past the Cloverleaf for years and telling you her story for all these reasons.

I understand.” said Gale

I also understand the Cloverleaf needs to be remembered.” said Gale

After dinner that night, Gale went to bed not knowing what to do about the Cloverleaf.

Who can help me bring back the Cloverleaf?” said Gale to herself

Gale awoke during the night and decided she needed to return to the Cloverleaf site at once.

The site was still the same as before, completely absent of the Cloverleaf.

As Gale decided to say goodbye for the last time, she heard something.

Who's there?” said Gale.

Gale did not hear a response, and just put the noise to something in the March wind.

As she turned to leave the site, she was startled by a voice asking her “Who’s there?

Gale began running and ran all the way back to her house.

The next morning Gale was wondering if it all was a dream or if her imagination was playing tricks of her.

At school that day she told her classmates about the voice she heard at the Cloverleaf site, but no one believed her story.

Gale returned home after school more troubled than the day before.

She decided to return to the site once again after her parents were asleep.

Returning to the Cloverleaf site would prove to her that no one was there.

In her heart, Gale didn’t know if she wanted that to be true.



Gale walked very slowly in the dark to the Cloverleaf site.

Her pace was slow as she pondered what she would find this night.

She arrived to find the site unchanged from the night before.

The void created by the missing building was now twofold.

One, in that the building was gone and not coming back.

Two, because she felt a void within herself as well.

Gale was lamenting the Cloverleaf.

After a few moments, Gale decided to try something.

She decided to speak, but to speak only one word.

Hello?” said Gale

Almost instantaneously a voice replied “Good to see you again”.

Gale thought to run as she did the night before.

This night she stood perfectly still.

Who's there?” said Gale

IVY Girl.” said the voice.

I can’t see you.” said Gale

Can you see my sphere?” said IVY Girl

I can see a green dress, is that you?” said Gale

Yes, I was born here long before the Cloverleaf was built.” said IVY Girl

Where do you live now that the Cloverleaf is gone?” said Gale

I live just offshore in the Great Lake.” said IVY Girl

Is that what your sphere is for?” said Gale

Exactly, it floats very well.” said IVY Girl

So, are we both here for the same reason?” said Gale

I hope so.” said IVY Girl

Do you know if we can bring the Cloverleaf back?” said Gale

Yes, to some extent.” said IVY Girl

What to do you mean?” said Gale

We first need talk about why we want to bring back the Cloverleaf.” said IVY Girl

Ok, I’m listening.” said Gale

You should sit down Gale, I have a story to tell you.” said IVY Girl

The story begins over three centuries ago.

The Cloverleaf site was a forest on the shore of a Great Lake.

This was long before a city would grow in and around this site as well.

The past forest that was here will act as our teacher.

This current City is like a Forest too.

Think of each building in the city as a tree.

Many of the trees in the city seem identical.

Cutting down one tree is similar to cutting down any tree.

Therefore, cutting down one building is similar to cutting down any building.

Only, this is not true.

The Cloverleaf was cut down, but it was not any tree.

The reason for this is simple.

The Cloverleaf was not just a building.

The Cloverleaf was an Architecture.

Architecture is thinking plus building, not building without thinking.

Cutting down some trees makes the forest more healthy.

Cutting down the entire forest is wrong.

The Cloverleaf was the Queen of her forest.

The heir to her throne was also born in the Cloverleaf.

Gale, you are the heir to the throne of her forest.

It is your responsibility to preserve the Cloverleaf.

As IVY Girl concluded the story she told one last important detail.

Bringing back the Cloverleaf would be like planting a new tree.

The new tree would be similar, but not identical to the Cloverleaf.

Gale thought for a minute, embracing the meaning of the story.

I don’t want to plant a tree, I want to plant a forest.” said Gale

I’m so glad you understood the story.” said IVY Girl

Gale then said she had a wish to ask of IVY Girl.

Her wish was to grow a Cloverleaf forest.

Is this an impossible wish?” said Gale

No, to wish for the impossible is a great place to start.” said IVY Girl

Gale’s wish would take all of IVY Girl’s magical powers.

The owner of the site was starting construction the next morning.

Her wish needed to be completed in a single night.



Gale’s parents woke her very early the next morning.

She was told they needed to go for a walk immediately.

Gale got dressed and off they went.

Outside it seemed that everyone was headed in the same direction.

As Gale looked ahead, she saw where everyone was headed.

A Cloverleaf forest had grow during the night.

A crowd gathered in awe of the Cloverleaf forest.

The owner of the site was also impressed by the magnitude of the new structures.

Who did this?” said the Owner

I know who did this.” said Gale

Who???” said the owner

IVY Girl did this.” said Gale

Who’s Ivy Girl?” said the owner

IVY Girl is my mother.” said Gale

The crowd that gathered began to cheer.

Gale’s parents eyes filled with tears of joy.

The Cloverleaf forest is a living model of preservation.

Preservation of both a memory and of an Architecture. 

IVY Girl made Gale’s wish into a reality.


Part V : WISH

Gale slipped away from the crowd, to the edge of the Great Lake.

Gale had one more wish to ask of IVY Girl.

Gale wished that the entire city be made a forest for a single day.

Her wish was to return the city to the forest it once was long ago.

The City is like a forest.” said IVY Girl

Cloverleaf is our home.” said Gale

IVY Girl told Gale she would grant her wish, with one exception.

What is the exception?” said Gale

You must grant me a wish.” said IVY Girl

IVY Girl’s wish was that Gale build a new Cloverleaf with her daughter one day.

I will.” said Gale

As Gale left, she paused to say one last thing to IVY Girl.

Goodnight Mom.” said Gale.

As Gale fell asleep that night she was thinking of the lessons IVY Girl had taught her.

The City is like a forest, but not all trees in the forest are alike.

The wish made in a fairy tale is the beginning of an Architecture.

The Queen of the Cloverleaf forest slept very well embracing her two new lessons.

The next morning Gale awoke to the vision of her wish for the city.



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Status: Competition Entry
Location: New York, NY. US
My Role: writer & designer
Additional Credits: s. hjelte fumanelli - designer & digital processing

Part I : HOME
Part I : HOME
Part II : VOID
Part II : VOID
detail II : swimming Whales
detail II : swimming Whales
detail III : Elephant in the Sky.
detail III : Elephant in the Sky.
detail IV : reflective Elephants
detail IV : reflective Elephants
Part V : WISH
Part V : WISH
detail V : The City is like a forest.
detail V : The City is like a forest.