24 February 2010

crunch time, and a question

As if I haven't been busy all quarter long, I'm about to get even busier. This quarter we're designing a tiny (0.3 acre) park in the downtown area of Seattle. We have the option of making it an off-leash dog park, which it currently is (but was not designed to be), or a people park. As you might imagine, I have some pretty strong feelings on what's a good dog park looks and feels like--from the dog's point of view. So I toyed with some design ideas that included an off-leash area (as well as a partial off-leash area, a third option), but have decided to design a "people park". There are very few families with children in the neighborhood in question, but that demographic is on the rise, so I am trying to design a site that's fun for kids, without being a playground. Any suggestions? I've got some ideas that involve lights, varying ground surfaces and interactive art installations, but I'd love to know -- have you ever seen (or wished you had) something in a park that really caught your attention?


DinoMatt said...

We've been talking a bit about lighting, what with Joshua Tree being a Night Sky park. It seems like when a place gets flooded with lights, it's not just way too bright, but it provides more shadows for criminals to hide. And I, for one, would certainly like a park I can visit at night and feel safe in. Basically: I like low, soft lighting in a park. And of course, enough room to throw a football around. But no fountains or waterworks.

Anonymous said...

The kind kids can walk in to cool down in the summer and adults can sit around. Water features that can be touched and explored. Integrate some lights and lumps of grass to picnic on and you have a winner in my mind.

embella said...

I've personally always been inspired by British squares that serve immediate communities. Some are even gated. A hedge 'fence'can create an attractive way to separate the concrete jungle from a quiet oasis. I love Portland's water parks that are great during the summer as well as climbable trees. Kids should always be able to climb trees.

Frank Stipe said...

While I understand your desire for an off-leash park the space avaiable doesn't seem like enough to me for a bunch of dogs to be able to run around in, I'll bet Finn could lap a park that size in less than 4 seconds. I think you could focus on a main center feature, my favorite are large abstract pieces of art with paths, hedges and features leading towards the center.