Rogers Partners and Nelson Byrd Woltz have revealed the preliminary designs for a new park over the busy GA400 roadway in the district of Buckhead, Atlanta. The new urban park aims to bring the local community back together, after being physically split by the highway’s construction in the 1990s.
The 2,400-foot-long (731 metres) green strip to be built atop the GA400 highway, will strategically connect existing commercial centres, mass-transit hubs, and potential development sites. New York- based architecture and urban design firm Rogers Partners is collaborating with Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (NBW) on the design.
“Slicing through the heart of the Buckhead neighbourhood in Atlanta, a busy highway and a commuter rail line have physically fragmented the community for many years”, said the team in a press release. The goal is to “make the area whole again, providing the public with safe, easy, and efficient access to the many amenities in the district.”
Called Buckhead Park Over GA400, the project is expected to raise the profile of Atlanta as a visionary 21st-century city and act as a model project for other car-oriented cities, like Dallas and Houston.
“We see Buckhead leading a national trend to create value, enhance quality of life, and improve connectivity by constructing inspired public spaces,” said Robert M. Rogers, FAIA, founding partner of Rogers Partners.
The scheme presents three major design features: a commons area on the north, with an amphitheater for both formal and casual gatherings; a plaza in the middle of the park, with multiple activities such as retail, restaurants, and rail access; and a garden setting at the southern end, providing a green oasis for people to enjoy. Unifying all these elements is an allée of shade trees, that will run the full length of the design.
Lush plantings will work to offset the heat-island effect that affects major urban centres while custom-engineered systems will capture storm-water to be re-used for irrigating the gardens. By planting native species that are adapted to Atlanta’s climate, the landscape will require minimal maintenance.
“The chance to create a 21st-century park for Buckhead—rooted in the recognizable landscape ecologies of the region—is an extraordinary opportunity”, said Thomas Woltz, principal of NBW.
The design is intended to promote walkability and encourage people to use the park between home and work, or to reach the many cultural attractions of Buckhead. Extensive pedestrian paths will connect the surrounding streets and the park. The team anticipates that the park will also become a prime destination on Path 400, a regional recreational and commuter bike path and running trail.
“We’re very excited to move ahead on this pioneering project”, said executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District, Jim Durrett. “When Buckhead Park Over GA400 is complete, Atlanta will have a unique, world-class civic space that is both beautiful and functional.”