The blog entry that Anne recently posted on stone reminded me of a contemporary project that I admire for both its use of stone and for its design intent. Tear Drop Park by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates is a 1.8 acre public park located in New York City’s Battery Park. Many of you may be familiar with the park as it was the recipient of an Honor Award by the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2009. What first attracted my interest in the project was the unique stone work. Growing up in the North East, I was drawn to the way the walls were designed as an interpretation of the geological formations found naturally in this region. The “ice wall” recalls the layers of rock that are exposed along the sides of the highway where the road was cut into the hillside; a familiar landscape I experienced daily as a child.
While it was the unique use of stone that first caught my attention, this project also stands out in my mind because of its design intent. The park is designed to bridge the gap between child and nature, a topic I have previously touched upon in the blog entry “Book Review: Last Child in the Woods”. The park successfully creates a natural environment with scales, textures, and materials that engage the children growing up in an otherwise urban environment.