While in Portland, one of my objectives was to spend as much time as I could in the magnificent parks and spaces through the city and note all the incredible green infrastructure systems in place there that I could. To that end I walked from one end of the city to the other and back...but the places I constantly return to in my thoughts are the Japanese Garden - which I wrote about previously - Keller Fountain Park and Tanner Springs Park.
Here are excerpts of my interpretation of both places along with photos -
This place is a Landscape Architect's dream. You can spot other design nerds like me - fancy journals and pens, a little rumpled, sitting, looking, sketching, writing, taking tons of photos and if like me....thinking "this place is genius." Solid edges, berms with trees to contain the space, minimal understory planting, democratic materials and water. LOTS of WATER. Thundering. Misting. Running Smoothly. Pouring from two points through rectilinear chutes + platforms and then over the geometric falls into angular pools. It's all concrete. Does concrete look this good normally? There are so many angles - except for the water. So moving, so elegant. He truly captured the essence of the Cascades and this place with a minimum of materials and a minimum of flourish. I am floored by the economy, elegance and timelessness of this place......
At Landscape Architecture school, I always looked to the work of Atelier Dreiseitl for inspiration. It is fantastic to experience a place in its context instead of in a library on a page....For me the beauty of this place is it's embrace of the qualities of water as it moves through the landscape. Making it look as though you might encounter this in the wild is a tremendous challenge in terms of execution and public perception of "beauty." In the center of a former industrial area, one might not expect to see "unkempt" vegetation, or a meandering stream, but it is here. At the entrances to the park are thoughtful diagrams that explain some of the hydrologic processes taking place - from stormwater filtration, to the re-circulating pump to keep the stream going. The major point of success for me is that the park is effortless - there are serious engineering mechanisms and design considerations at play, but none of that gets in the way of the chaos of vegetation, or the unexpected marshiness of some of the places or the seating at the periphery where you can take it all in.