Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JAN 2017

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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54 Landscape Architect and Specifier News In 2010, a group of Aspinwall residents led by Susan Crookston organized to transform 11 acres of riverfront property. A nonprofit— Aspinwall Riverfront Park, Inc. (ARP)—was formed to purchase the old marina operation and to develop the park. As ARP was not owned or operated by the Borough of Aspinwall, it could not tap into municipal tax revenues or funding from the municipality for capital improvements or day-to-day operations. ARP raised funds with contributions from 3,000 supporters, matching contributions from two Pittsburgh-based philanthropic foundations and an Allegheny County grant. A total of $2.2 million of seed money was raised. Upon purchase of the property, ARP selected a design team led by Pittsburgh-based Environmental Planning & Design, LLC (EPD) to create the park's master plan and landscape design. Master Plan Concept EPD's approach was to design for "experience and sustainability," its foundation stones to successful placemaking. The firm saw the site's features and landforms naturally divided the area into three zones, and thus developed "East Park," "Middle Park," and "West Park" segments, each varying in experience and sustainability strategies. East Park is the gateway, an active zone containing a patio, a riverfront promenade, a play area and a bronze sculpture. West Park features a constructed wetland, a boardwalk, a series of "raindrop gardens," an informal amphitheater, stage and a wellness trail. Framing the edges of West Park are the Brilliant Railroad trestles, an industrial "intrusion" in an otherwise tranquil space. Middle Park offers a limited-service marina, rentals, a welcome center with event spaces and public washrooms. Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) Larkspur (Consolida regalis) Plains coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) Southern Blue Flag (Iris virginica) 'Sunny Pink' hardy water lily (Nymphaea 'Sunny Pink') Above: The ipe (Brazilian walnut) bench (Sitecraft) mimics the curved form of the rock-filled gabions, which separate disparate areas of the park without fencing, essentially ha-has, i.e., vertical barriers that don't block the landscape view. Graded forms in the park include mounds, hills and rippled and waved landforms. Top, Left: The hill, constructed from concrete and brick rubble from the site demolition, functions as a 500-seat amphitheater and sledding spot. Crowning the hill is one the park's custom-built yellow pine 'Big Bertha' benches. The adjacent pine boardwalk connects the three park areas and conceals a sewer interceptor line. PHOTOS: EPD, LLC

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