Early in my time working at AKRF, our team made up of a soil scientist, an engineer and a landscape architect/urban planner submitted a successful proposal to the City of Bristol Connecticut. The project intent was to create a parking lot for community’s use on a 1.1 acre ‘brownfield’, formerly the site of a cardboard box factory. The property’s potential was limited due to a variety of physical factors including extensive soil contamination and the presence of a culverted stream bisecting its length.
We proposed a ‘park-like’ parking area. As the lead planner and designer, I wandered, research, analyzed - I got to know and understand the project site and its relationship the City’s downtown area. Our team developed three distinct design alternatives, along with construction cost estimates, which were presented to the Bristol Development Authority at a public meeting.
Over a decade later, various ideas documented in the design alternatives can be seen in the parking plaza at 149 Church Street; attention to the pedestrian experience, to paving materials, connections to adjacent sites, plaza-like area near the entrance/ exit, and the edge-of culvert sidewalk among other big and small decisions that can be seen implemented.
Yesterday I indulged in a day of exploration, allowing myself space and perspective for self reflection and discovery. AND I visited one of my favorite parking lots at Dia:Beacon.
The space flows. The visitor’s experience begins as you step out of the car. Subtle and bold at the same time.
Thoughtful use of materials, vegetation, colors and textures.
Clouds of orange berries hover, creating a layer of color between the sky and the ground surface — a barrier? a connection? —Artwork!!
Last week I found myself near an old project site - Kathryn Gorman Ponds Park, in Montebello, NY. The pond edge habitat restoration was planted over 3 years ago and it’s looking good! The red twig dogwoods are doing their winter thing and the cattails are faithfully challenging the phragmites for dominance. The Village also constructed a viewing platform last year. I will have to make it a point to go back in the spring and post updated pictures in full bloom.