Love Park: Civic engagement hands off to design work

Months of civic engagment – which produced over 650 ideas for a Love Park redo from interested citizens – came to a conclusion Tuesday evening as Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and PennPraxis turned over the identified civic goals and principles of redevelopment for the JFK Plaza renovations to the Hargreaves Creative Team, which will direct the design, landscaping and planning phases for the project.

Praxis’ Bridget Keegan Barber detailed the intense civic engagement that resulted in specific marching orders for Hargreaves Associates, which is known for its work at Houston’s Discovery Green and London’s 2012 Olympic Park. Hargreaves was also the firm behind the massive Penn’s Landing redesign concept.

In 2011, Parks and Recreation and the Planning Commission worked together to develop the following core principles for the redesign of JFK Plaza/LOVE Park. The principles – combined with the citizen defined goals for the site – will help to guide the design team in their work.

• Provide a signature water element

• Provide plenty of green & horticulture

• Replicate the diagonal pedestrian path

• Reinstall the LOVE Sculpture at it’s current location

• Lower the JFK Boulevard & 15th Street perimeter grade

• Improve access to the parking garage

• Integrate ventilation shafts with perimeter pedestrian circulation

Civic Goals
Civic Goals

The Hargreaves team of Mary Margaret Jones and Ken Haines was on hand to give some context about previous work and some direction about their approach for this project, which includes KieranTimberlake as architects and Pentagram for graphic and wayfinding design. (KieranTimberlake were the architects for the new Dilworth Park. Pentagram has done branding and design work for The Barnes and Philadelphia Museum of Art but so far no public spaces here, though they gave Bloomberg’s New York a new look.)

The project involves moving underground utilities, and improving garage elevators, stairs and ventilation, but Mark Focht, First Deputy Commissioner at Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, explained, “It’s really about the park.”

Here’s the timeline: Complete the design, approvals and documentation by late fall of 2015; bid construction over the winter of 2015/16; begin construction in early spring 2016.

It should be noted that some themes have been prepared in coordination with discussions with Ashley Hahn of Eyes on the Street.  Her October 23, 2014 article, “Build new LOVE upon old strengths” outlined some essential themes for the redesign of JFK Plaza/LOVE Park and PennPraxis worked with Ashley to flesh out some of her initial thinking in greater detail. More info:

Watch attached videos for full presentation (in pdf form below), including concept work by Hargreaves Associates.

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