Ford Motor Assembly Plant, by Copley Wolff Design Group, in Somerville, Massachusetts. The reuse of existing infrastructure appears very often in contemporary architectural design. Experts are asked to preserve and at the same time modify buildings and landscape sites in order to serve contemporary needs. The balance between evoking the memory and creating a functional and inspiring project is always difficult. Ford Motor Assembly Plant in Somerville, Massachusetts, is an example of how to make a successful transition from a production unit complex to a contemporary, vibrant neighborhood. The plant had been closed since 1958 due to the economic recession. It reopened in 2006 as a 24-hour, mixed-use district, with residential, retail, office, cinema, restaurant, hotel, and recreational open space uses.The Federal Realty Investment Trust, in collaboration with Copley Wolff Design Group, produced an overall master plan for the old plant and its’ surroundings. It took time and vision to create a vibrant, contemporary, active center.
The redevelopment’s first phase has already been constructed. It includes accesses toward the complex, streetscape design, two pocket parks, and a six-acre waterfront park. Phase 2 includes the design of streetscapes, a linear park, and the surroundings of the new residential blocks. The design of the next phase is currently under development.
Site Uses and Activities
The design team has paid special attention to creating a pedestrian-friendly environment. There is a variety of facilities for the convenience of both residents and visitors. Sitting areas, playgrounds, an amphitheater, a new community dock, and walking and cycling routes have been included in the master plan. See More Related Articles:
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Key elements of the initial plant infrastructure have been maintained and integrated into the new master plan. The pre-existing large, steel trusses remain along the new amphitheater to preserve the memory of the anterior site’s function.
A landscape project is largely defined by its planting scheme. Scale, color, and seasonal variation create atmosphere and enhance the spatial experience. There appears to be a large variety of trees and shrubs of various sizes on the planted surfaces of the redeveloped Assembly Plant. There are extended spaces of lawn that allow for numerous social activities. Planting pots have also been used to enhance the vegetation of the open spaces. The Ford Motor Assembly Plant has been meticulously designed in each and every parameter one could think of. The use of portable planting pots of various sizes and styles contradicts the purely functional character of the pre-existing elements. One could argue that this might be the design intention: controversial elements to underline the site’s development and its course in time.
Redeveloping Sites: A Complicated Scheme
A landscape architect’s scope of work has always been about transformation. Usually, one has to cope with transforming natural processes and adapting to the parameters imposed by nature. Projects such as the Ford Motor Assembly Plant take our work a few steps further.In cases such as this, a designer should come up with an inspiring and attractive plan that corresponds to contemporary demands. At the same time, he should restore and/or transform the site according to the natural processes and preserve/ highlight the important pre-existing elements. This is a demanding, multidimensional scope of work. It involves memory, sustainability, and restoration, as well as design creativity. Each of these aspects has its own parameters and difficulties. What does it take to be successful at all these levels in the same project? Design integrity, excessive research, profound knowledge, and interdisciplinary collaboration. It is vital to be able to combine different disciplines and incorporate the elements and information they provide during the design process. Landscape architecture is more than ever teamwork. How else could one achieve success on such complex issues? Go to comments
Full Project Credits For The Ford Motor Assembly Plant
Project Review: Ford Motor Assembly Plant Project Name: Ford Motor Assembly Plant Designers: Copley Wolff Design Group Location: Somerville, Massachusetts Area: 50 acres Date of Completion (Phase 1): 2006 Construction Duration: 2006-present Budget: $1.36 billion Client: Federal Realty Investment Trust Website: www.copley-wolff.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/Copley-Wolff-Design-Group Twitter: www.twitter.com/CopleyWolff LinkedIN: www.linkedin.com/company Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/cwdglandscape Recommended Reading:
- Urban Design by Alex Krieger
- The Urban Design Handbook: Techniques and Working Methods (Second Edition) by Urban Design Associates
Article by Eleni Tsirintani Return to HomepagePublished in