Tanner Springs Park Portland

Events at the official park opening were much enjoyed by the public.
Space for contemplation in the middle of a bustling city

With surgical artistry, the urban skin of one downtown block, 80 x 80 metres (200 by 200 feet) is peeled back. Time is reversed and the story of land development wound back to predevelopment days. The park is like a view port to the past. The long forgotten wetland habitat is restored to the full glory of its plants and animals. Little springs bubble up at the top of a large open grassy meadow, trickling down to a wetland pond, sunken 1.8 metres below street level. A floating pontoon crosses the water, literally swimming across its invisible and varying depths. Symbolic of the old city fabric, historic railroad tracks form a wave-wall along one side of the pond. Called the 'Art Wall', there is a harmonious contrast between the static strength of the rail tracks and the lithe and flowing movement of the wall as it oscillates in and out, the top also rising and falling. The verticality of the rail tracks is surprisingly filigree. The movement of the wall is doubled in the reflection in the water. Lawn terraces run down the two sides of the park, providing lots of lunch-time seating and vantage points to enjoy the park.

Informal, paved paths lead into the park, creating flowing transitions, a design theme found throughout the park.

Children absorbed in play. The park was adopted by children straight from the start.

A spring trickles across the biotope, meandering into the water.

A planting succession from dry to wet follows the slope of the park down to the water

Children absorbed in play. The park was adopted by children straight from the start.

A spring trickles across the biotope, meandering into the water.

Oscillating historic railroad tracks form the Art Wall, a 'skin from the past.

A planting succession from dry to wet follows the slope of the park down to the water

Tanner Springs Park, Portland

The swinging Art Wall, made from recycled railroad tracks, as seen from the Boardwalk.
The seating steps are a place for lingering, relaxing and chatting and give a formal frame to the wetland park.
In a special fusing technique using Portland glass, hand-painted insects are trapped in glass and inlaid between the old railroad tracks.

The Art Wall is 60 metres long and composed of 368 rails. 99 pieces of fused glass are inset with images of dra-gonflies, spiders, amphibians and insects, like animals captured in amber, creatures of times and habitats long gone. The images were hand-painted by artist Herbert Dreiseitl directly on Portland glass, which was then fused and melted to achieve the final effect.

The project was originally won by a competitive proposal together with GreenWorks PC, local Portland landscape architects. The shape and scope of the project was only achievable thanks to a consulting 'Steering Committee', composed of residents, owners, investors, businesses, city administrators and users. More than 300 citizens were involved in three public events where art, imaginative brainstorming and planning workshops informed and inspired the design process.

Tanner Springs Park is a space for contemplation. An authentic and artistic ecology, it is a place which celebrates flora and fauna. The park is an energy source for people. They come to enjoy its inherent and natural vitality, and restore within themselves a place for nature.

Inlaid glass panels glow in the morning light. Trapped insects recall the inhabitants of lost ancient wetlands.

Maximum Height of steel roils 7.50 above Boardwalk

PONTOON

Maximum Height of steel roils 7.50 above Boardwalk

steel rail wood nailer extended to support ends of decking anchor of steel rails boardwalk decking boardwalk substructure see engineers drawings BW-3

liner assembly see detail 3 sheet 830

permeable fabric see specifications concrete wall, reinforced see engineers drawings for details fill with round gravel 1/2" to 1"

1 1/2" pipe for skimmer circulation see mechanical drawings 052 for location concrete poured after installation of steel rails concrete foundation, reinforced, psi 4000

concrete foundation, reinforced, psi 4000 see engineers drawings for details

:ompacted subgrade

Inlaid glass panels glow in the morning light. Trapped insects recall the inhabitants of lost ancient wetlands.

A much appreciated space: the pontoon floats over the water below the Art Wall.

Grid line see site layout grid steel rail wood nailer extended to support ends of decking anchor of steel rails boardwalk decking boardwalk substructure see engineers drawings BW-3

liner assembly see detail 3 sheet 830

permeable fabric see specifications concrete wall, reinforced see engineers drawings for details fill with round gravel 1/2" to 1"

1 1/2" pipe for skimmer circulation see mechanical drawings 052 for location concrete poured after installation of steel rails concrete foundation, reinforced, psi 4000

concrete foundation, reinforced, psi 4000 see engineers drawings for details

:ompacted subgrade

The water pulsates its way gradually from step to step, falling into a specially cast outlet.

The individual elements are placed and assembled to the precise millimetre. Each stone is hand-crafted and produced individually.

Town hall square, Hattersheim

Elevation of the steps and the projected water cascade

On the route from A to B our attention is usually caught by the destination. The space in between becomes a side issue. In town planning the familiar phrase 'the route is the destination' became a platitude amidst all the enthusiasm for building and refurbishment. It was only in the mid-eighties that towns started to try to atone for their sins committed in the post-war period by transforming open space from being an area that had to be bridged into a space offering a whole range of different potential experiences.

This has been brought off successfully in Hattersheim. This little town has excellent transport links with various autobahns and local railways, and is close to the airport, and so has become a desirable and highly prosperous industrial location within the belt south of Frankfurt. But developments of this kind rarely turn out positively for the town's appearance - even though communities are increasingly aware that they compete with each other and have to offer their residents attractive urban spaces. Hattersheim found itself facing this challenge in the late eighties. The community focused its attention on the town centre and announced a competition for developing the area between the town hall and the municipal park. This was a marketplace, and they wanted it to develop a life of its own, forming a link between urban and rural elements: the town hall was intended to draw people, restaurants would be able to use attractive spaces in the open air, the route to the adjacent park would make people want to linger there, and also provide a new way of getting into the park itself. Water became the linking element in the Hattersheim marketplace. The steps leading to the town hall are the heart of the ensemble and the source of the water. An inviting or at least alluring gesture was successfully provided by a water cascade made up of flowform

Elevation of the steps and the projected water cascade

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The flowing water intertwines with the marketplace. Cafés and shops use the area as a foyer.

Town hall square, Hattersheim

Towards the pond, the watercourse is planted and more natural in appearance.

The pond in the park is used for water retention.

basins. Herbert Dreiseitl had the basins cut to the millimetre from granite blocks, after developing and testing the movement of the water in his studio in clay and plaster models on a scale of 1:1. The slightest departure from the ideal form would mean that the water would not run as wished in its figure-of-eight pattern based on John Wilkes' flow principle, which is intended to be reminiscent of a human pulse.

From the lowest step, the water falls on to the granite paving of the marketplace, runs under two five-metre squares and then reappears in brick basins. It then becomes a plaything, with a straight brick edge on the market place side and a curved one on the catering side, broken up with blocks of stone.

Here the water plunges under the paving again to re-emerge at the end of the pedestrian area in a planted pool. There it is cleaned and taken through an open ford into a pond on the edge of the park. It then runs underground to a tank, and is pumped back up to the source on the town hall steps. A way from the town hall to the park has become a way of taking people to water.

The watercourse is an attractive element on the square and a playground for children.

The stream runs through a purification biotope into the aerated retention pool.

The watercourse is an attractive element on the square and a playground for children.

The stream runs through a purification biotope into the aerated retention pool.

Water remains visible and enters into a playful dialogue with the path at a crossing.

The pond in the park is used for water retention.

Stepping stones

Purification biotope

Watercourse

Stepping stones

Purification biotope

Watercourse

Tanner Springs Park Sketches
Longitudinal section through park watercourse
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