Envisioned as an urban grove, this central gathering space represents the convergence of community in this diverse, mixed income, residential development. The design accommodates a complex program, layering the varied multi-cultural and intergenerational uses with a number of meaningful gathering and recreational spaces for the residents. Tai Chi, chess, children’s play areas, and contemplative seating areas allow for various groups to utilize the garden spaces in different ways. Lawn areas can be used for sunbathing in the summer and also provide the community with areas for flexible programming during larger gatherings, such as celebrations for the Chinese New Year, Russian Unity Day, and other cultural and civic events.
The plaza landscape design focuses on providing Mission Park with a landscape which draws its spirit from the regional gardens of New England. The plaza uses pavement materials which will endure the long, challenging winters, while the patterning itself is designed based on the herringbone patterns of residential landscapes. The plaza pattern stitches the areas of gathering and passage together while bringing a human scale to this large plaza space. The paved areas within the garden are carved out of the grove to allow for direct access to major entry points and public transportation.
The planting is composed of species that have been naturalized in the New England urban landscape. This palette of plants is able to withstand the demanding conditions a city provides; high winds, winter salt applications, poor soil conditions, and high ranges in air/soil temperature. Design considerations addressed the residents’ concerns with both visual and sound screening from Huntington Avenue, a congested main thoroughfare which accommodates the train and four lanes of vehicular traffic. Layered hedge rows consisting of River Birch and Zelkova filter these urban conditions while maintaining views for safety throughout the space.
The design for this 30,000 square foot project creates a comfortable outdoor environment. Previously defined by a central raised plaza, the space was exposed to the traffic and train congestion on nearby Huntington Avenue. The redesign of the site removes the grade changes to create a universally accessible landscape for the residents of this community, while utilizing a rich plant palette that allows for multiple types of programmatic activities to occur simultaneously in various garden rooms. The layering of the canopy trees, plant beds and paved surfaces reinforce the unity and democratic nature of the plaza.
Architects: Mikyoung Kim Design
Location: 29 Court Square, Boston, MA 02108, USA
Architect in Charge: Mikyoung Kim Design
Landscape Architect: Mikyoung Kim Design
Project Year: 2008
Photography: Courtesy of mikyoung kim design