For Parts I and II of our Pocket Park series, we covered some of the small greenspaces that claim awkward or underutilized sections of the urban fabric in the Fan District. Here are some other examples of the effective landscape technique in Southside Richmond.
Recently designed and constructed by ArchitectureRichmond’s own Mario Accordino, Perry Street Park rests on a stretch of land near Semmes Avenue, owned by the Southside Community Development and Housing Corporation. The park is intended to stand until early 2014, when the block is planned to be developed into housing.
A series of paths connect two squares through the overgrown land, providing a variety of tactile experiences. Textures range from the delicate brittleness of sticks and crunch of gravel to the softness of mulch and grass. Canvas canopies provide shade to the seating areas and create an enclosure along with the surrounding berms that shape the squares into outdoor rooms.
While small in scale, the pocket park addresses the larger issue of vacant land in the city. These unoccupied spaces are meaningful to our urban consciousness, and the Perry Street Park attempts to harness value in the lot’s transition, appreciating the land’s current character while stimulating thought and hope for the site’s future development.
Wedged into the intersection of New Kent Avenue and Westover Hills Boulevard is a toddler park owned by the adjoining Westover Hills Baptist church. The single use of the park meets the demand of the numerous families in walkable distance looking for a place to bring the kids on a sunny afternoon. Although a fence lining the entire triangle creates a harsher security divide between the park and its surroundings than necessary, the triangle is covered by tall pine trees and takes advantage of a space that would most likely otherwise be empty.
Another admirable use of a triangular plot in the Southside can be found in McDonough Community Garden. So named for the flanking McDonough Street, it is also bounded by 33rd Street and Forest Hill Avenue. The small lot is filled to the brim with healthy garden plots and also contains wooden benches and a picnic table. Bushes and trees line a sidewalk which hugs the park’s edge. The McDonough Community Garden has a pleasant sense of enclosure formed by the surrounding houses, mostly well maintained American foursquares and bungalows of the early 1900s.
M.F.A. and D.O’K.