Gander Point

The Small Center project team worked closely with City Park staff and leadership to design and build a new gathering area where all park users can enjoy the natural waterfront setting.

Project Dates

August 2017–December 2017

Context

A long time partner of Small Center, City Park has played host to several past projects including Grow Dat Youth Farm and the LOOP NOLA Pavilion. Park administrators asked the Small Center team to design an intervention between Magnolia Drive and one of the park’s lagoons to provide access to the waterfront, engage nearby users of soccer fields and playgrounds, and generally serve the public as they visit and enjoy the park.

Small Center Engagement

In collaboration with City Park, the Small Center project team worked to design and build a waterfront gathering area near Magnolia Drive in City Park. As is typical for Small Center design/build projects, the team had approximately 14 weeks of Fall 2017 to complete all phases of the project: faculty, students, and staff conducted research on park use and construction techniques, observed public use patterns of the site and the wider park, designed a wide range of options to facilitate public use of the waterfront, worked with park officials and held public meetings to select a final design, and constructed the project.

The final project uses a sculptural wall to frame scenic views, define gathering areas, and simply facilitate use of the bucolic site with its established tree canopy and waterfront views. The wall and primary pathway work together to reveal a small-scale “dock” suspended above the lagoon, suitable for fishing, birding, and more.

Partner Organization

City Park New Orleans is as magical and unique as the city of New Orleans. The 1,300-acre outdoor oasis has enchanted New Orleanians since 1854, making it one of the nation’s oldest urban parks. Each year, millions of visitors stroll under the same historic oaks and picturesque moss canopies that served as the backdrop for dances, concerts and even gentlemanly duels or “affaires d’honneur” for generations.

Outcome

This project provides public space adjacent to a beautiful lagoon waterfront typically inaccessible to the public due to tall vegetation at the water’s edge. The new gathering space frames natural vistas, provides a space for families and groups to get together and enjoy the natural setting, and allows for intimate waterfront access for fishing, birding, and contemplation. Located near other park activities including sports fields and playgrounds, the project should enjoy regular use by a wide variety of City Park visitors. City Park is excited to provide further access to its beautiful lagoons, and plans to investigate the installation of additional waterfront gathering spots using this project as a model.

Collaborators

City Park New Orleans

  • Bob Becker
  • John Hopper

Team Members

Project Leads

  • Seth Welty (Design Lead)
  • Nick Jenisch (Project Manager)
  • Sue Mobley (Engagement Advisor)

Students

  • Antonia Butwell
  • Monica Marrero Ciuro
  • Carson Hall
  • Carolyn Isaacson
  • Izabela Lotozo
  • Magda Magierski
  • David Maples
  • Christie Melgar
  • Rachel Neu
  • Elliott Petterson
  • Rachel Rockford
  • Nicole Saville
  • Diego Schubb
  • Jesse Williams

Staff

  • Shoshana Gordon
  • Donn Peabody
  • Emilie Taylor Welty
  • Rashidah Williams

Support

  • City Park New Orleans
  • Mr. and Mrs. (Erin) John-Paul Hymel

Special Thanks

  • Jenny Snape, PE (Batture, LLC)
  • Maya Alexander
  • Danielle Duhe
  • Dan Etheridge
  • Tyler Havans
  • Tom Holloman
  • Nick Perrin
  • Dan Splaingard
  • Gaylan Williams
  • Dana Brown & Associates, Inc.
  • Dash Lumber