Embassy Park Competition (Entry)
This design competition sought new ideas for the Embassy Park in downtown Waltham, Massachusetts.
Callahan + LeBleu developed a design entry that pays homage to the Charles River by borrowing its meandering form. The form is then overlaid on the site, resolving several issues. First, the once amorphous space becomes structured and divided into three distinct areas: an elevated seating/dining area, a central walkway, and a green space. Second, the curved forms helps to soften the boxy nature of the site; and third, the paved “river” collects people as they move through the space from Moody Street to the parking garage at the same time as it provides occupied space that prevents it from being merely a sidewalk.
The various areas are designed to be flexible and to accommodate a range of uses including casual dining, conversation and people watching as well as festivals, movies and small concerts. A range of seating is provided such as benches constructed of wood and Corten steel, concrete seat walls and wide concrete steps.
Striped paving perpendicular to the flow of pedestrian traffic acts as a counterpoint to the linear nature of the park. The stripes are arranged in a rhythmic pattern that expands and contracts to recall the flow of water. Native plants, predominantly grasses and wildflowers, reference the natural state of a river’s edge. Recycled pervious concrete pavers and Corten steel reflect the industrial past.