You've probably noticed the round skyscraper on the Tampa skyline. But did you know that near the base of that building is a spot that's world famous?
"People as far away as China and Alaska have contacted us," said Taryn Sabia, an urban designer who considers the place a work of art. It's called Kiley Garden, an expanse of concrete and turf rectangles that sits atop a parking garage next to Rivergate Tower, the round skyscraper that some call the Beer Can Building.
KILEY'S GREEN ROOF
The garden was designed by Dan Kiley, one of the most acclaimed landscape architects of the 20th Century. His other designs include landscapes at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
His garden in Tampa was completed in 1988 intended to turn the roof of a parking garage into a park and a living piece of art.
"It was one of the first green roofs," continued Sabia -- an environmentally-friendly roof to provide a shady park near the Hillsborough River.
WE NEVER KNEW YA
The designs of the garden and the adjoining round skyscraper used architectural concepts derived from mathematics and nature. But the name "Beer Can Building" may tell you something about the area's willingness to embrace such brainy ideas of design.
On the other hand, the garden and building have their fans.
"It's a gem in our city," said former Tampa City Council member Linda Saul-Sena. "It's one of the highest designed elements we have here."
Saul-Sena wants the garden restored to its original condition.
RE-PLANT THE GARDEN?
When it was built, Kiley Garden was dotted with many Myrtle trees. But the roots of the trees eventually damaged the roof of the parking garage, causing leaks.
When the city repaired the roof, the trees were taken down and never replaced. Saul-Sena believes that with the new emphasis on Tampa's downtown riverfront, the time is right to plant trees again.
However, that may cost a $500,000 or more. Another proposal would have the city build "shade structures" instead of planting trees again.
"This garden was created with trees, and that's what we should put back," says Saul-Sena. She's hoping this forgotten masterpiece is rediscovered.
To learn more about Kiley Garden, you can "like" it on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kiley-Garden/140104002722508