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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thinking About: Carter G. Woodson Memorial Park Design

With funding committed, 2010 should bring us a redesigned triangle park honoring Dr. Carter G. Woodson. The new park will be designed by the Department of Parks and Recreation, which is awaiting the transfer of dollars from DDOT to begin the design process.

The artist designing the sculpture of Dr. Woodson created a conceptual park design (which can be viewed here), but the conceptual design is not likely represntative of what's in store. Personally, the conceptual design does not do it for me, as I do not think it relates well to the neighborhood or creates an inviting place. Below are my ideas on what I would like in the new park design.

Regarding orientation and flow, I think the sculpture of Dr. Woodson should be oriented toward the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and Ninth Street for maximum impact. I think there should also be easy and clear flow from the historic Woodson home in the 1500 block of Ninth Street into the park, so the park entrance at the corner of Ninth and Q Streets and the view of the sculpture from that intersection should be significant.

Regarding the park content, I think the park should be an educational experience relating to Dr. Woodson. I think it would be neat to have quotes of Dr. Woodson inscribed in stone and inlaid into the paving throughout the park. I also think the park should be a beautiful natural space, with lots of trees, bushes and flowers.

Regarding the design, I think the park should be well lit with attractive lamp posts throughout, landscape and path lights and a spotlight on the sculpture of Dr. Woodson. I do not think benches should be in the park, but seating could be accomplished through low retaining walls. Landscaped berms behind the retaining walls would keep the park a safe and open green space. The paving and walls should be made of smooth stones for a sleek and natural but monumental look.

Below are some renderings of what I have in mind.


CCCA Prez said...

I like the raised beds with engraved signage on the walls.

Boots said...

Very pedestrian design, rife with useless spaces other than the all those retaining walls, which would be a skaterboarder's dream, they'll be scuffed up in no time.

Shaw Rez said...

Boots - Yeah, I admit my MS Paint skills and lack of architecture training yielded a pedestrian design, but I meant it to start a conversation on what we want the design to be in advance of DPR's design process. The main things I wanted to convey were the foot traffic flow and the statue orientation. I personally think the park should largely be a passive, beautiful and educational space without much in the way of function.

If you'd like to make a mockup, I would be thrilled to post to continue the dialogue.

Mr Ray said...

Turning the monument around is a good idea. The design, whatever form it takes, however, should not be inviting to vagrants, public drinking, loiterers, and criminals to prey on pedestrians, bus users, and residents. Remember, no benches.