Dec 3rd 2015

Ron Henderson in Design Miami

Pawtucket Bridge Park, by Ron Henderson / L+A and Thurlow Small Architecture is among the 198 projects on exhibition at UNBUILT, the entrance pavilion for Design Miami, Miami Beach, 2015.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation, Ron Henderson of L+A Landscape Architecture and Thurlow Small Architecture investigated the transformation of the proposed stormwater retention basin into a publicly accessible park that would connect the School Street neighborhood to the Blackstone River. Pawtucket Bridge Park merges transportation engineering, ecological logics, and public space that culminates in a cantilevered overlook, which affords prospects to the river below and the illuminated trusses that carry Bridge 550 over the Pawtucket River above. A linear water channel collects shallow water runoff from the bridge deck for infiltration, while landforms accommodate larger water volumes up to 70% of the 100-year flood stage as part of the variance obtained by RIDOT from CRMC. The park balances public infrastructure with safe public access to provide new ways to see and experience Bridge 550 and the newly designated Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park.

For every building that exists, there is a prospective and invisible city of the unbuilt. In this sense, design is the production of knowledge not only for a singular structure but for an entire field of possibilities. UNBUILT brings this invisible city to light. The pavilion is a canopy of 198 hand-crafted architectural models that showcase a range of experimental and speculative projects by students and faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. While these projects may never be built, they manifest the skills, research, and imagination of their designers. The interior of the pavilion presents an aerial view of a cityscape populated by 198 distinct visions of the future. In other words, the pavilion explores how individual ideas relate to the communal infrastructure of memory, experience, and culture; it is a way to contribute our own stories, as well as those of many others, to the greater narrative of design.