KSC Professor Peter Temple's Collaborative Architectural Project Team 2 - Brittany Blinn, Nathan Burse & Gabriel Laplume

Our Collaborative Architecture Project was the revitalization of the Samuel E. Paul War Memorial Park located on South Street adjacent to the town center in Troy, N.H. This park was originally established by Doctor Samuel E. Paul in 1949. At its inception, the War Memorial Park served the town of Troy and surrounding communities as a recreational center supporting various community oriented programs. Traditionally the heart of the site was the water related activities offered to local residents. These activities included, among other things, swim lessons and canoeing. Due to financial constraints and wear and tear over time, the park has not been maintained in its original state. Currently the site offers to the community an older skateboard park, two small baseball fields, a small bathroom/utility out-building, a snack shack, playground, an outdoor pavilion area, a basketball court, and a small beach and waterfront area. All of these features of the site are in varying states of disrepair and some have lost all functional value. The site still maintains several of its strongest features such as aesthetically pleasing axial views, wide open activity areas, and easy access to an attractive waterfront. But as time takes its toll and the park continues to deteriorate, definitive action is needed to revive and restore it to its former place, as an appealing and aesthetic destination for Troy and the surrounding communities.
 This revitalization has been the primary goal presented to us by the clients representing the Town of Troy. An emphasis was placed on restoring key components of the original park to their former value and adding new and exciting elements to make the park more appealing to more diverse groups within the surrounding areas. A careful and deliberate look was taken of all existing areas and structures on the site to determine what could be reused and incorporated into a new and dynamic site framework. Incorporating sustainable design features to the site was also a key as we moved forward in design development. Another important goal was connecting the town of Troy with the park by means of a trail system that would be tied to both. Further emphasis was also placed on enhancing the site’s natural beauty through design features and axial perspectives in order to ensure a connection with the past while building towards the future.

Design Development

As the preliminary design team, one of our first tasks was to look into the site’s historic relevance to the surrounding area and reconcile that with modern day conditions and needs. Acquiring this knowledge was essential to understanding the site in its original context while moving forward with design elements.
 The next step for our team was to gather all available physical site information. This included present site conditions and physical site features. This information was essential for us to be able to fully understand the opportunities and constraints the physical site offered. We found only small amounts of written information concerning current site conditions. This prompted us to go to the site and manually gather much of the necessary information needed. Using pace counts, measurements, photographs, and surveying equipment, the needed information was gathered. This process gave us firsthand knowledge of current building conditions, axial views, adjacent properties, and topographical features all related to the site. Through this information gathering, we were able obtain real world site conditions in order to proceed through the design phase.
 Another step in the design phase was to gather all relevant documentation concerning the site and relevant Federal, State, and Local laws and regulations. This included building codes, tax maps, zoning regulations, wetland laws, variances, setbacks, and property lines around the site.
 Another key component of our site analysis was input from local residents who understood the
site in its present day context. Through their input we were able to ascertain current circulation patterns and identify erosion areas and security concerns of the site. Using all of the information our team was able to move forward with a design that addressed site conditions and relevant security concerns.
 All of the information we obtained led to a decision to eliminate several existing structures on the site which were deemed too expensive to repair and not in accord with the new goals for the site. These included the current snack shack, bathroom facility, a skate park, and the lower baseball field. The bathrooms and snack shack would be incorporated into larger more functional structures later. The skate park would be rebuilt in a different area that was more in accord with the design goals. Several other site structures would be left in their current locations with little changes. These included the pavilion, upper ball field, and the playground.

Main Challenges

 Initially the biggest challenge was obtaining the necessary information concerning the physical site features. At the beginning of the project the site was covered with over three feet of snow. This snow cover made getting both an accurate lay of the land and present circulation patterns very difficult. The sites topography was unavailable to our team in the beginning of the project. Without this information functional designs would be near impossible to develop. To overcome this problem our team contacted a retired geography professor to administer a crash surveying course. With our newly acquired knowledge, and some surveying equipment provided by the college, we proceeded to the site. There we spent hours trudging through the freezing cold to dig through the snow pack and obtain accurate topographical information about the site. This information enabled us to construct an accurate mass model and topographical map of the site which made moving forward possible.
 Dealing with neighbors in close proximity to the site also presented us with a unique challenge while redesigning the park. Some activities planned for the site were louder than others. An example of this was the skateboard park and its accompanying noise.  Placing this main site attraction so it was in a central location without disturbing other site activities or close neighbors was a critical concern. Other design concerns sprang from wetland preservation rules and runoff, and incorporating a major water activity theme in the park. A constant eye towards wetland and conservation laws affected many decisions along the way.
 One of the hardest hurdles to overcome was developing a practical phased approach to the design process. Budgetary restraints made a complete park renovation unlikely and every step of the plan had to be carefully considered. We developed a phased approach which took into account keeping the park operational at all times. To do this we develop a working plan that either eliminated or moved one element of the space while maintaining an overall operable site. Based on future potential financial support, the park plan could be slowly or rapidly brought to fruition without putting the whole site out of commission at any one time.

Final Design

 In the end we considered and adopted or rejected tens of dozens of ideas pertaining to the design of the park. We settled on a design that incorporated many new and unique features that would give the park stand-alone status in the surrounding towns and Troy. Our overall site objective was to provide a diverse and adaptable space that incorporated varied educational and recreational
opportunities throughout. We constantly took into account the site’s existing natural beauty and axial views and adjusted and directed circulation patterns through the design to maximize these elements. Our final design called for the uses of sustainable power sources wherever possible, and monolithic, rugged building elements to minimize long term maintenance and security needs.
 One of the first orders of business was to expand the existing parking lot from 35 spaces to near 75 to accommodate the new and varied attractions offered at the site. On leaving your car and heading into the site, entry would be controlled through a threshold entry way. We created a circular hub surrounded by walkways where you would first arrive upon entry to the site. This hub would be used to tie together several major features of the site and control circulation patterns. We added a larger building directly opposite the threshold entry area of the hub to serve the site’s educational and indoor activity needs. A larger and more up-to-date skate park was also connected to this quad as well as the existing playground. Springing from this central circular hub at multiple points, we added a natural trail system connecting to the rest of the park and with Troy in a very unique and exciting way. Throughout this trail system we called for outdoor classroom areas to create dynamic learning and educational areas. These areas would serve to educate the public concerning conservation and environmental issues in an engaging and hands-on environment.  We added a boat house that would meet all setback requirements while providing a versatile platform to support water related activities.  Existing site elements such as the pavilion and upper baseball field were molded into an overall layout that created a smooth flow of traffic on site and emphasized their importance. The pavilion was incorporated into a larger element of the site which included a barbecue pit and outdoor amphitheater. This amphitheater would be molded into the landscape and provide a platform for instructional or recreational presentations. A final feature of the site was a large open recreational space designed for general use, abutted by a community garden space and a basketball court overlooking the water. This was all done in the space formerly occupied by the lower baseball field. On the whole we designed a site that encompassed a wide assortment of activities both educational and recreational providing for many different interests and appetites.

What We Learned

 We learned many different valuable lessons from this exercise. When confronted with inadequate information about site features we had to learn to survey and accurately record the information. We then learned how to transfer this information into a useful map that could be understood by all. In having to gather all this information, we learned the importance of physical site data in relation to topography and current conditions. We also learned the importance of understanding the real world conditions on a site and how these conditions, opportunities, and constraints continually factor into design decisions.
 A big part of this project was working with multiple personalities both on a team and with our clients. When confronted with varied perspectives on the team we had to learn to listen, compromise, and argue our individual opinions convincingly. But in the end it came down to consideration and respect among all team members. The same rule applied with the clients but to an even higher level.
Many of the problem solving and design development skills we have learned in our courses were crucial in successful completion of this project. Finally, we learned how to step back as a team, and reappraise when things were not working out and when we needed to just hunker down, focus, and get it done. In the end we are extremely happy with how far we have come and hope to be able to carry what we have learned with us for years to come. Already so much of what we have learned and been able to do has contributed to the future prospects of the Park and to the overall health and wellness of Troy and the surrounding communities.

EXISTING.pdf118.16 KB
Contours.pdf58.69 KB
ExisAxials.pdf32.65 KB
ExistCirculation.pdf42.15 KB
Opps.pdf58.71 KB
Security.pdf41.15 KB
sunwind.pdf198.81 KB
finaldesign.pdf164.63 KB
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