The City of Boston offers many cultural amenities from performing art venues to various fine art museums. Although Franklin Park is connected to the urban scale by virtue of the Emerald Necklace, it is isolated culturally. Therefore this project aims to reinvigorate the social currency of the neighbourhood by creating a park that amplifies the value of the historic features, reinvigorates plants as a cultural project, capitalize on seasonal ecologies and and offers an articulation of processes embedded in this valuable open space. Franklin park can become an active agent in counteracting the monotony of the residential plots that surround it. Through the design of two trajectories, this project reveals and unearths layers of landscape to bring together intricate textures and immense scale changes that engage the public in immersive environments.
The City of Boston offers many cultural amenities from performing art venues to various fine art museums. Although Franklin Park is connected to the urban scale by virtue of the Emerald Necklace, it is isolated culturally. Therefore this project aims to reinvigorate the social currency of the neighborhood by creating a park that amplifies the value of the historic features, reinvigorates plants as a cultural project and capitalize on seasonal ecologies. Franklin park as a valuable public open space will become an active agent in counteracting the monotony of the residential plots that surround it.
This project is located in the northern end of Franklin park and is knit together by two trajectories that offer the body varied experiences. The first trajectory begins near the neighborhood and terminates on the Puddingstone lookout, while the second trajectory begins on the Overlook Ruin and ends at the excavated Reservoir within The Wilderness.
a. Oak Savannah
Starting from the Northern end of the Park, one begins on a gravel walk, that cuts through the Oak Savannah which consist of a variety of oak species, some have dense plantings of sumacs that provide a backdrop while others stand solitary. The semi open area of the savannah allow for medium sized gatherings.
b. Misty Meadow
Past the savannah and descending into the open meadow, the ground in the spring experiences seasonal flooding as you find yourself crossing large slabs of granite blocks under your feet. Areas along this trajectory are flanked on either side with look out areas for bird watching throughout the year. Furthermore, during February before any other flowers bloom, purple crocuses emerge from underneath the snow as a spectacle of scale is achieved with a flush of color to the otherwise grey winter. During the summer, the meadow also allows for larger gatherings due to its openness and adjacency to the stadium and baseball field.
Traversing the meadow, you have three choices on where to walk.There is a mowed path through the meadow that leads you into the Rockerie which is planted with small stands of stewartias and betulas in which their trunks have been tilted and buried in a flood of pebbles and stone. The dark coarse leaves of the rhododendrons make a charming contrast with the smooth gray beds of river rocks underneath. The Rockerie also acts as a place for the exhibition of sculptures and provides a more intimate experience compared to the open meadow.
d. Moody Valley/ Groovy Gully
This project also reveals and unearths layers of landscape to bring together intricate textures and immense scale changes to engage the public in immersive environments. Continuing along the main trajectory through the moody valley, an individual experiences the vast scale of earthen walls that have been cut through. Past the tall valley walls you end up on a beautiful puddingstone rock that has a view to the coniferous forest across that has been planted in The Wilderness. You also have the option to take the more sinuous path, into the Groovy Gully that leads you to the Winding Woodland.
e. Winding Woodland
The first trajectory that ends on top of The Puddingstone View has a smaller footpath that guides you down into the Woodland area that has winding paths cutting through dense groupings of sugar maples, rhododendrons and honeysuckle that bring a burst of colour and aroma throughout the seasons. White pines will naturally seed between the stands overtime, giving more structure and canopy cover to amplify the woodland experience.
f. Stumpy Forest
Cutting across this foot path, you enter the Stumpy forest which is located in The Wilderness; a rocky area that has dry soil. As the soil is not very rich, only certain species will grow. Existing trees are thinned out and stumps are left to allow for a managed forest of Pinus virginiana planted in a tight grid- providing an opportunity to bring forestry into Franklin park. The trees can be further cut down every 5 years to be sold during Christmas to the surrounding communities of Boston.
g. Forest Clearing
The last portion of this trajectory brings you to the old reservoir which has been excavated and filled with water. This space is enclosed with straight lines of tall pines and a shorter yew hedge to create a more contemplative space. This project therefore aims to bring culture into Franklin park and Boston as a city, to engage the public in immersive environments. By capitalizing on seasonal ecologies, immense scale changes as well as intricate planting and material strategies Franklin Park can become a vibrant place attracting both tourists and locals alike.
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