A Park for both the body and mind

One of the things I love most about Landscape Architecture is its potential for metaphor and narrative.   More than architecture and virtually any other design discipline, landscape can tell a story.   It can engage the public directly in their own narrative, or it can introduce them to a narrative they had not previously considered.    It can combine with public art to weave a story that citizens can directly and immediately connect to.  The most successful projects are those where the narrative is direct, immediate and discernible.

Pattern Park in Richmond Hill Ontario, is such a project.  It is one of our firms newest projects and clearly illustrates the thing I love most about Landscape Architecture.

Upon arrival, visitors are presented with a challenge.   “Can you find these patterns in nature in the park?”.   A varied program of uses and park elements are designed and developed around patterns found in nature and the guest, child and adult alike, is challenged to find them while also having fun in an accessible swing park, in a water play space, on ping pong tables and on climbing apparatus.

In park design it is equally important to remember that the mind is a sense just as sight, smell, touch and sound are senses.


Author: paul nodwell

Paul Nodwell draws on almost 33 years of experience in Urban Design and Landscape Architecture. He is a passionate student of the public realm and believes that great 'place-making' cannot happen without listening to stakeholders, shaping the project around a big (not necessarily complex) idea, and wherever possible, introducing metaphorical and even poetic elements that engage the public in their own experience of the built environment. Early in his career Paul's work took him to Southern California with Peridian Group Landscape Architecture and to Paris, France with Walt Disney Imagineering, but he has enjoyed most, his participation in helping to shape the Greater Toronto Area. As part of the senior management team for the Town of Markham, Paul played a key role in bringing The New Urbanism to southern Ontario. In private practice, Paul has designed a myriad of public parks, streetscapes and condominiums. He has played a key role in the design of a number of new mixed use communities including Angus Glen, Cornell, The Galleria, Concord Floral, Vaughan Metro Centre and Markham Centre. Paul is the recipient of more than a dozen awards for urban design and landscape architecture. He has served on the City of Vaughan Design Review Panel for three years and continues to enjoy serving as adjudicator at the University of Guelph. Even more, he enjoys the dip of his canoe paddle in a northern Ontario wilderness and the challenge of paints and a blank canvas.

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