Aug 14, 2011

What makes a
GREAT park?
Design it like
a piece of music


What makes a great park?
BIG IDEAS

Brooklyn Bridge Park
A Tour with Matt Urbanski
of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
and Metro Hort Members

Listening of Matt Urbanski of Van Valkenburgh Associates talk about Brooklyn Bridge Park puts one in a state of envy.  I know first-hand how many obstacles there are to imagination, creativity and daring in a public park.  Urbanski and Van Valenburgh are fearless. 

Brooklyn Bridge Park isn't finished.  There is a lot more to do:  still it will take your breath away.  You've got amazing views, the deafening noise of Brooklyn Queens Expressway and the diverse neighborhoods of Brooklyn to contend with.  What to do?

The view is overwhelming...all of lower Manhattan.    Urbanski talked about how they (Valkenburgh Associates) decided to deal with it.  "Control it"  "Parse it out"  "Make multiple spaces that unfold"  In a small garden, it's a standard idiom to create garden rooms.  This breaks up the space and establishes individual expanses.  Van Valkenburgh Associates have basically done the same thing in a public park.  You move from flat to hill to flat.  From shrubbery, to hedgerow with lawn to water garden to saltwater marsh to pier to path to playspace to waterfront.  
There are many different paths one can take.   Each one is different: some incredibly open and some enclosed.  It reminded me of the way a composer constructs a symphony.  Allegro, Adagio, Scherzo and Rondo are all components of the Brooklyn Bridge Park.  It is definitely variations on a theme.  The theme:  making a space that is sustainable, intentional, and deeply satisfying. 



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