Rogers Street Park Design
Last fall, I partnered with Catie Ferrara to design an open space intervention for our second studio project in Urban Design Skills. We had a blast! It was a great chance to focus on hand drawing before getting too wrapped up in Adobe and slick 3D rendering.
Instructed to take a deductive approach before selecting a site, we drew graphical representations of two of the natural systems in the East Cambridge neighborhood: ecology (surface greenspace) and hydrology.
We also performed a brief study of the social and demographic character of the neighborhood. One particular feature that defined our experience of being in East Cambridge was the relative size and prominence of the looming Middlesex County Jail building as a wayfinding point. The deeper we wandered into the working class neighborhood, the more that the jail would dominate our horizon. But the farther we walked into Kendall Square, Cambridge's biotech research hub, the more its glossy behemoth buildings would dominate our view to the jail in the distance. We tried to represent this in a cognitive map:
OPEN SPACE DESIGN
The project site we settled on - a large but lackluster grass field left over from cleared warehouses, awaiting a redesign or high-end development - straddled the border between the working class neighborhood to the north and Kendall Square to the south.
Our survey of the space revealed that it could best be used as a park that would function as an intersection between corporate researchers and community members; a place to mingle and be flexible enough for changing needs. Several existing parks informed our design.
CROSS-SECTIONS + PROGRAMMING:
One of my favorite elements of our design is to include a chimney-style beacon with a high nest for the peregrine falcon, whose habitat will be destroyed when the Middlesex Jail is demolished.