Design Statement Palak Shah
The Oscillating Amble: Used by Anyone…. Belongs to No one……Welcomes Everyone.
My active research and study about the formation and clustering of Communities around Franklin park raised a critical yet sensitive question about the perception of “Diversity” amongst people. Although in a formal sense the word diversity means variety in a range of things, for a fair bit of time being diverse, it is always spoken with regards to race and ethnicity. In the case of the city of Boston, this perception of diversity has been deeply tied to its past and has followed to lead to its frictional present. As a designer, this encouraged me to investigate and reflect upon the true diversity in this majority-minority city. While analyzing the long going immigration patterns and reflecting upon the change within the city over time, I was truly amazed at the imprints left by various cultures beyond the norms of mere race surrounding the Franklin Park. It thus sparked an urge to design interventions that speak highly of this understated color of diversity and look beyond the existing communal tension.
The Crown of Franklin park has been a critical edge subjected to prolonged negligence. The terrain condition of the park starting from Walnut avenue to Harold street gradually creates a topographical bias, completely sabotaging a latent crest to the park. This Monolithic edge not only presents the face of the park as the back but also separates neighborhoods from each other. It thus becomes extremely important as a designer to open the doors wide open to the residents who surround this critical yet latent edge.
Currently, various landmarks within the Franklin park are divided based on their proximity to different neighborhoods. And hence these places are no longer just destinations to visit but neighborhoods in itself that restrict residents from coming to the core of the park. This contraction of the residents to the edges is mainly due to the development of Franklin park over these years and the absence of having a defined center. The Franklin park thus needs a center. A center much like Omstead’s original design of the Country park that offered a shared experience to the community yet a distinguished sense of “absence of use” that brought the people together.
By proposing “The Oscillating amble” on the crown of Franklin park, my main goal is to invite communities to break away from the proximity of their neighborhoods and share rich experiences as a cohort. The existing white stadium is an appropriate location chosen for this intervention due to the topographical condition and ease in access to the users of the park. By replacing the existing play stead, the Oscillating amble transforms the exclusive boundary of the white stadium into an inclusive boundary thereby allowing users of the park to share the same walk beyond any bias.
The oscillation of this amble stitches the high points and low points of the park’s complex terrain, thereby stitching together a center that becomes the new core of the Franklin Park. These points of connecting take the user through different experiences of Leisure, Solitude, and Synergy while the rear of this amble becomes the house for various facilities that the park has been long deprived of.
The Oscillating Amble thus becomes an intervention that is much needed by the Franklin Park and reflect the essence of the city’s rich heritage. This new homogenous center would be a humble attempt to create transparency of use and engagement for everyone and anyone without any bias or topographical access prejudice.
Location: Franklin Park, Boston
Building materials: Prestressed concrete and Pudding Stone
Studio Instructors: John Kett and Scott Mitchell
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