Benchmark: An Urban Landscape Goes Undercover

February 13, 2010 by

Here’s a challenge to the traditional notion of public space as a “town square” or “village green”: You’ve got an unsafe under bridge area within an existing viaduct not so suitable for planting or creating a verdant space.  Architects James Dallman and Grace La of Milwaukee design studio La Dallman met the challenge by converting the area into a civic gathering space for film festivals, regattas, and other river events. Due to the lack of natural daylight for plant growth, the area could not be, as the designers explain, “defined through landscape design in the conventional sense; rather, concrete benches are set amidst a moonscape of gravel and seating boulders.”

Pedestrians and bicyclists now have a place of respite with benches as they make their way across the Marsupial Bridge. By night the benches are lit from within, transforming the Plaza into a beacon for the neighborhood. I love it.

Photos courtesy of  La Dallman.


  1. Helen at Toronto Gardens said:

    Great thinking. We have just the space for it in Toronto.

    — February 13, 2010 @ 12:46

  2. Toronto Landscaper said:

    What a great idea. Helen is right, there is a lot of potential for this kind of thing in the Toronto area. I wish they had used natural stone over the concrete benches.

    — February 13, 2010 @ 15:30

  3. Gdansk Historic Public Square Temporary Design Includes Grass Rooms Pingback said:

    […] observing how city residents adapted to and arranged the space according to their needs, the impromptu park functioned as a sort of lab for the city to gather important usage information and for residents to […]

    — October 29, 2013 @ 17:03

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