Corvus Design Blog

July 16, 2014

Klyde Warren Park – Dallas Texas

(Visited January 2013)
The food trucks beside this park point to a renewed way that we are looking at our public spaces. Success in a space often involves something to do, something to eat and somewhere to go to the bathroom. Looking this park up online also illustrates the changing approach to parks, with an excellent website and a very high level of event programming. The park even has free Wi-Fi. It would seem that many of its features might result from it being a public/private partnership.

With an ideal goal for park design being to provide something to do for everyone, this park provides the physical amenities that are specific to certain uses (i.e. playground and restrooms) and those that allow a high level of flexibility in its use. Success is measured by how many people use a park, and what times of the day a park gets used. Some of this visitation will be organic due to people visiting the park to use it’s amenities, but a large number of people seem to come to this park due to how it’s programmed (a calendar can be viewed on their website).

The east end of the park was being used lightly when we visited (during the late morning), with the game tables and activities being the most popular (ping pong and foos ball, with adjacent putting green). The west end of the park had a number of food trucks for lunch time, and a playground that was popular. For what would be expected to be a non-busy time, the park had a healthy level of use. I can only imagine how used it might be during more peak times.

Designed by: The Office of James Burnett

An interesting article on how the park was built: How Clyde Warren Park Was Built
Check out the Yelp Reviews: Yelp – Clyde Warren Park
It even has a Facebook Page: Facebook – Clyde Warrent Park

Addition to post: Metropolis magazine has an article on Dallas, where they reference the importance of this park to the urban fabric: Mission Impossible

One of the park entries: it’s impressive that this park is built over a freeway.

The park is chock-full of stuff… including these arches over a promenade.

Lots of movable furniture.

A few shelters in this part of the park, more for shade than rain cover I’d think.
We were here on a weekday around lunch. This part of the park wasn’t as occupied as that closer to the food trucks.

Definitely a wide variety of places to sit.

Ping pong table under a shade canopy. You leave your ID with a park docent to get the paddles and ball.

The park design is warm and friendly. Paving, planters and lots of seating elements. Also, a putting green. You leave your ID with a park docent to get the clubs and ball.

Foos Ball!!!! You leave your ID with a park docent to get the ball.

The park docent… enabler of cool games and guide to your enjoyment of this park.

Another park docent helping people with directions and enabling them to enjoy the park.

Bike racks. The use of a model with plastic bumpers is nice to minimize scratching paint.

Water features. I head that Dallas can get hot, hot, hot!

Lots of places to sit and socialize.

Food truck promenade. A good amount of options of food, and then great seating in the park.

A main lawn area in front of the play area.

Entry to the play area. A gateway is good for finding the way in, and certainly adds some fun.

The high point in a play area is always a favorite place.

Poured in place safety surfacing makes for a great pathway, and provides options for color and designs.

An interesting sign to see… but high heels would indeed damage the soft play surfacing. 

I think that a sure sign of success in a play area is seeing everyone’s parents hanging around and talking to one another while their children play.

The green mounds are artificial turn. The natural materials like a boulder area  great design and play feature, and the native plantings certainly make this feel like a well-designed space.

This shows the thoughtful integration of ‘natural’ feeling elements into the playscape.

More food truck goodness.

What’s better than a food truck? One that blows bubbles…

When we were looking at the park online, we found various local articles about it prior to and after its opening.

July 11, 2014

Inclusive Play

We are very pleased to be working with the Anchorage Park Foundation and the Municipality of Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department on a Strategic Plan for Inclusive Playgrounds in Anchorage. Our desire for play design has always been to strive for universal access… and that goes in general for our Landscape Architecture and Planning practice. There are true and distinct challenges in doing this (in the face of complicated sites and budgets) but decisions can be made to allow sites to be enjoyed equally by as broad a section of the populace as possible. What sticks with us is the idea that we might be stopped by some barrier that we couldn’t surmount, and our friends would be able to move on without us to other fun things. That isn’t such a good feeling to be left behind, no matter how short the time might be.

The idea of inclusive play and universal access is becoming more and more present in media and our community discussions. Here’s an article from today in the Star Tribune:

Lucas Dean, 4, spent an afternoon with his parents, Jay and Karen Dean, and his sister, Isla, playing in a neighborhood park. The St. Louis Park boy has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair to get around.

July 11, 2014

The fun we get to have…

We just found a blog entry that we forgot to publish during our design for Russian Jack Springs Park. Since we just posted photos of the final product we thought that it would still be interesting to upload some of the graphics from Landscape Structures that were used as the basis of design for getting bids on the custom equipment for the playground. Living in Alaska, we wanted to theme it in a way that related to our lives and history, but to not make it too expected or cheesy. The iconic – everyone loves polar bears for how cute and cuddly they seem, and I imagine that Coke advertisements haven’t hurt how the polar bear has a pretty iconic place in the North American (if not worldwide) consciousness. Ravens are more present than polar bears across the North, and are equally iconic due to how crafty and clever they area.

One of the interesting parts of this project was our collaboration with Landscape Structures on the sculpting of the polar bear head. The sketch above is certainly different than what was installed. It was a challenge to develop a friendly polar bear with his mouth wide open, but they certainly met that challenge. Just look at the sparkle in the eyes of the final sculpture!