Plagued by issues of pollution, mismanagement, and segregation, the community of Bridesburg has lost all connection to its greatest asset, the Delaware River. As the result of years of industrial development along the community’s riverfront, there no longer exists any public point of access. Tall fences restrict any access to what was once the community’s source of identity and pride. The chosen site, an 80-acre plot of land (formerly a coke smelting facility) straddles the line between the community and river, between wet and dry. It holds great potential to facilitate this relationship and link the two previously disparate conditions.
Through varying levels of porosity and saturation on site, a variety of conditions are created structuring a new venue for the residents of Bridesburg and members of the greater Philadelphia area to reconnect with the river and observe more responsible methods of stormwater and runoff management. A large incision is made in the center of the site allowing a greater exchange between river and land, while creating tidal wetland conditions, desperately needed along the banks of the Delaware. Feeding this incision are fissures reaching out to the bounds of the site collecting runoff and stormwater from the surrounding area.
Balance between cut and fill is achieved through the creation of mounds, varying in size from the small open, rolling hills towards the neighborhood edge, to the large densely vegetated mounds as you travel towards the river. These mounds provide program space (i.e. the earthen amphitheater), and a variety of intimate and open spaces throughout the park.
University of Pennsylvania