Refocusing on the Positive Aspects of Urban Life
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"8000","speed":"1000","arrows":"true","dots":"false","loop":"true","nav_slide_column":5,"rtl":"false"}
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"8000","speed":"1000","arrows":"true","dots":"false","loop":"true","nav_slide_column":5,"rtl":"false"}

DETAILS

LocationCleveland, Ohio, United States
ClientCity of Cleveland and LAND Studio
Size1 acre

Originally completed in 1972, this vestige of IM Pei’s urban renewal plan was built when the street was seen as a menace and parks turned inward. Rolling berms surrounded the edges and the sunken middle areas were filled with concrete retaining walls. After years of decline, Thomas Balsley Associates’ designed a plan to reunite the community with its park. The “forest and meadow” concept preserves the park’s strong points—mature shade trees and the liminal mounds—and replaces the central sink hole with a wide, sunny lawn on which daily urban life unfolds. On the north side are intimate seating areas among a grove of existing honey locusts which cast dappled shade on a floor of crushed stone. Oval mounds provide topographic relief, their gentle swellings contrasting with a grid of 20-foot-tall light wands that provide night-time drama. A corner food kiosk and trellised cafe terraces activate the park. Perimeter garden beds and distinctive seating flank the perimeter path embedded with light strips. The lawn’s formality has been interrupted by a large oval mound on which children play and adults view daily impromptu city life and staged performances. Clear lines of sight replace huddled bunkers. Choices that range between sanctuary and urban social interaction abound. Perk Park embodies the untapped potential of small urban public spaces: A public waste ground has been transformed into a common ground inspiring pride and enjoyment; it serves as an example of a collective civic will’s vision and fortitude, and the power of design.

Related Projects

Gubei Gold Street

SWA was selected to conceptualize, design, and realize a rare find in bustling Shanghai—a pedestrian mall (Gold Street). The corridor occupies three city blocks, is flanked by 20-story high-rise residential towers with retail at street level and book-ended by SWA-designed parks. Creating an iconic presence and enlivening the area, the mall features plazas, fou...

Guangzhou Chisha Riverfront Park

A new standard for ecological urban landscape brings people back to the waterfront.
This four-hectare urban waterfront park is a pilot project in the landscape renovation of Hungpuchong River, setting a high standard for riverfront public space in Guangzhou. The new public realm aims to connect the surrounding neighborhood and transportation hub to the r...

Bensonhurst Park

Bensonhurst Park is part of the larger Shore Parkway, an 816.1-acre collection of parks that stretches across Brooklyn and Queens. Today, the site provides a series of pathways, passive seating areas, recreational fields and a playground.
SWA/Balsley created a master plan for the redesign of the north end of the park and final design and construction doc...

Griggs Park Redevelopment

Griggs Park, a historically important open space located in Uptown Dallas, had not kept pace with the ever-evolving culture and artistic neighborhood surrounding it. The new design reflects the changes in urban uses for the now-vibrant neighborhood. Established in the 1940s, the park is the first dedicated to an African American in Dallas. It transitioned with...

Changchun Tractor Factory Renovation

Once-industrial site re-imagined as a commercial complex with eye-catching public spaces.

For this site, which was once an industrial tractor factory that epitomized Changchun’s thriving industrial past, SWA provided conceptual design through implementation to transform the former of Changchun Tractor Factory into an eye-catching public realm that fulfi...

Dongguan Central Park Area

This new 32-hectare park is envisioned as a “livability magnet” in the ongoing renewal of the Dongguan’s Central Business District, intended to attract new talent to the reputed “world’s factory.” SWA conceptualized the park as a living system, inspired by the durable, growing roots of a banyan tree. The design leverages thoughtful soil, water, and planting st...

Dubai Hills Boulevard and Public Realm

Envisioned as a garden oasis strategically situated where city meets desert, Dubai Hills will be a vibrant yet elegant mixed-use community for 21st-century living. The key public realm element of this massive 1,000-hectare development is a 5.6-kilometer urban boulevard lined with shops, residences, and offices along the district’s central spine. SWA/Balsley de...

Portsmouth Square

Portsmouth Square is the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown: the main civic park for all community festivals and events as well as an important day-to-day outdoor living room for the community. Centered in the densest community in the United States west of the Hudson River, the park plays a critical role in the health and well-being of the local residents, ove...