a+t 52: Urban Park Strategies - Paradises
Aurora Fernández Per, Javier Mozas (Editors)
a+t, January 2019

Paperback | 9-1/2 x 12-1/2 inches | 120 pages | Spanish/English | ISBN: 978-8409098804 | 26.00 €

Publisher's Description:
Increasingly, and at a faster pace, nature becomes culture and as this occurs, so continues the construction of an increasingly artificial and imaginary paradise lost. The paradises of today are those public spaces where multiple spiritual postures fit, where each one is built while experiencing them.

Javier Mozas traces a walk in search of paradise, through 5 historical models, starting in the 17th Century and ends at the beginning of the 20th Century. Aurora Fernández Per identifies and analyses within the selected works design strategies and actions with which to create accessible paradises for the citizen.

The STRATEGY series, initiated in 2010, defines scalar scopes, evidences disciplinary origins and composes a grid that overlaps the project to offer a new vision of it.
dDAB Commentary:
One of my favorite parks graces the cover of the latest issue in a+t's ongoing Strategy series. I might be biased though, since Hunters Point South Waterfront Park is just a few miles from my home, just a quick ferry ride, which makes going to the park on a warm, sunny day that much more enjoyable. Designed by Weiss/Manfredi, Thomas Balsley, and Arup, the park was realized in two phases, with the first phase comprising active uses (playground, dog run, playing field, cafe, restrooms) and the second phase more passive uses (paths, benches, an overlook). Strategically, the park is a resilient, green edge fronting residential towers, schools, and other buildings just steps from the East River. Waterfront development continues unabated in post-Sandy New York City -- highly questionable when considering the inevitability of rising waters -- but at least Hunters Point South takes the approach that soft edges can deal with future scenarios, while in the meantime providing recreation and other amenities.

Like Activators before it, Paradises presents a bakers-dozen of landscape projects. The first five projects are historical, presented in an extended essay by editor Javier Mozas that moves from 18th century England to late-19th century Boston. These "five paradises" can be seen most directly as precedents for the eight contemporary projects that follow, both in terms of how nature is conceptualized and how the landscapes are designed formally and functionally. Following the essay, fellow editor Aurora Fernández Per defines the 50 strategies and actions that apply to the eight projects that follow. Like Activators, these strategies and actions are explained on small playing card-like bubbles that are clearly referenced to the projects; there the "cards" are reiterated so readers -- landscape architects, mainly, I'm guessing -- will know the most important strategies employed. If the other contemporary parks are as enjoyable in person as Hunters Point South (the only one of the eight I've seen in person), then paradise is indeed prevalent -- even in our time of ecological and other crises.

Author Bio:
a+t architecture publishers is an editorial company on architecture, founded in 1992 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Aurora Fernández Per is Publisher and Editor in Chief; Javier Mozas is Editorial Advisor.
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